Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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FAQ - General Visa Information

  1. How long does my passport have to be valid in order to apply for a U. S. visa?
  2. Do I qualify for the Visa Waiver Program?
  3. What is the fee for ESTA and who has to pay it?
  4. If I travel to the United States without ESTA, what happens?
  5. If I am a third-country national living in Cuba, can I apply for a nonimmigrant visa in Cuba?
  6. Do all nonimmigrant visa applicants have to come to the U.S. Embassy for an interview?
  7. I have a nonimmigrant visa that will expire soon and I would like to renew it. Do I need to go through the whole visa application process again?
  8. My passport has expired, but the U.S. visa in it is still valid. Do I need to apply for a new visa?
  9. I have dual citizenship. Which passport should I use to travel to the United States?
  10. How can I extend my visa?
  11. Must I submit my visa application form electronically?
  12. What is "administrative processing?"
  13. How do I read and understand my visa?
  14. My visa will expire while I am in the United States. Is there a problem with that?
  15. What will happen when I enter the United States?
  16. I did not turn in my I-94 when I left the United States. What should I do?
  17. I have questions on submitting my DS-160 and printing the confirmation page. Where can I go for more information?
  18. Does my minor child need to appear in person for the interview?
  19. Can a relative accompany a child to the interview?

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Q.1 How long does my passport have to be valid in order to apply for a U. S. visa?

You must possess a passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions).

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Q.2 Do I qualify for the Visa Waiver Program?

You qualify for the Visa Waiver Program if you are a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program country, possess a machine-readable passport, are traveling for temporary business or a visit of less than 90 days, meet other program requirements, and have obtained an authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

You must be a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program-eligible country in order to use this program. Permanent residents of VWP-eligible countries do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program unless they are also citizens of VWP-eligible countries. We recommend you visit the Visa Waiver Program website before any travel to the United States to determine if you are eligible for the VWP.

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Q.3 What is the fee for ESTA and who has to pay it?

ESTA registration is required for all travelers to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. There is a US$14 fee for ESTA registration. The fee can be paid online using a debit card or any of the following credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover. Third parties (travel agents, family members, etc.) can pay your ESTA fee for you if you do not have the correct type of credit card. If the ESTA registration is denied, the fee is only US$4.

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Q.4 If I travel to the United States without ESTA, what happens?

Visa Waiver Program travelers who have not obtained approval through ESTA should expect to be denied boarding on any air carrier bound for the United States. If you are allowed to board, you can expect to encounter significant delays and possible denial of admission at the U.S. port of entry (i.e., arrival airport). ESTA registration usually only takes a few minutes to complete, authorization often arrives in seconds, and it is valid for two years, unless the traveler’s passport expires within that two-year period. In those cases, ESTA validity is limited to the passport’s validity.

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Q.5 If I am a third-country national living in Cuba can I apply for a nonimmigrant visa in Cuba?

Applicants are generally advised to apply in their country of nationality or residence. Any person who is legally present in Cuba may apply for a visa in Cuba. However, applicants should decide where to apply based on more than just convenience or delay in getting an appointment in their home district. One thing to consider, for example, is in which consular district the applicant can demonstrate the strongest ties.

There is no guarantee that a visa will be issued, nor is there a guarantee of processing time. If refused, there is no refund of the application fee.

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Q.6 Do all nonimmigrant visa applicants have to come to the U.S. Embassy for an interview?

Yes, for most applicants. There are only a few exceptions to the interview requirement. The following applicants generally do not have to appear in person:

  • Applicants for A-1, A-2 (official travelers on central government business), C-2, C-3 (central government officials in transit on central government business) or G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4 (central government officials traveling in connection with an international organization, or employees of an international organization)
  • Children under the age of 14 if their parents have a valid nonimmigrant visa. .

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Q.7 I have a nonimmigrant visa that will expire soon and I would like to renew it. Do I need to go through the whole visa application process again?

Each nonimmigrant visa application is a separate process. You must apply in the normal manner, even if you had a visa before and even if your current nonimmigrant visa is still valid.

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Q.8 My passport has expired, but the U.S. visa in it is still valid. Do I need to apply for a new visa?

No. If your visa is still valid you can travel to the United States with your two passports (old and new), as long as the visa is valid, not damaged, and is the appropriate type of visa required for your principal purpose of travel. (Example: tourist visa, when your principal purpose of travel is tourism). Also, the name and other personal data should be the same in both passports. Your nationality, as indicated in the new passport, must be the same as that shown in the passport bearing the visa.

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Q.9 I have dual citizenship. Which passport should I use to travel to the United States?

If you are a U.S. citizen, you are not eligible to receive a U.S. visa and must enter the United States using a U.S. passport. If you are a dual national of countries other than the United States, you can apply using whichever nationality you prefer, but you must disclose all nationalities to the U.S. Embassy on your DS-160 application.

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Q.10 How can I extend my visa?

The validity of a visa cannot be extended regardless of its type. You must apply for a new visa.

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Q.11 Must I submit my visa application form electronically?

Yes, you must complete the DS-160 and bring a printed copy of the DS-160 confirmation page with you when you go for your interview at the U.S. Embassy.

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Q.12 What is "administrative processing"?

Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after your interview with a consular officer. You are advised of this possibility when they apply. Most administrative processing is resolved within 90 days of the visa interview. This web page on the Consular Affairs website has more information about administrative processing.

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Q.13 How do I read and understand my visa?

As soon as you receive your visa, check to make sure all your personal information printed on the visa is correct. If any of the information on your visa does not match the information in your passport or is otherwise incorrect, please contact the issuing authority (i.e. the) immediately.

The expiration date of your visa is the last day you may use the visa to enter the United States. It does not indicate how long you may stay in the United States. Your stay is determined by the Department of Homeland Security at your port of entry. As long as you comply with the Department of Homeland Security decision on the conditions of your stay, you should have no problem.

Further information about interpreting your visa can be found at the Department of State's Consular Affairs website.

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Q.14 My visa will expire while I am in the United States. Is there a problem with that?

No. You may stay in the United States for the period of time and conditions authorized by the Department of Homeland Security officer when you arrived in the United States, which will be stamped in your passport, even if your visa expires during your stay. You can find more information here.

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Q.15 What will happen when I enter the United States?

Your airline should give you a blank Customs Declaration Form 6059B. Only one Customs Declaration is required for a family traveling together.

A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States, but allows a foreign citizen coming from abroad to travel to a U.S. port of entry and request permission to enter the United States. The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States, and determine how long a traveler may stay. At the port of entry, upon granting entry to the United States, the Customs and Border Protection officer will determine the length of stay permitted. Previously, travelers received a paper I-94 (record of admission) with this information. This process is now automated, with some exceptions. The traveler will be provided with a CBP admission stamp on their travel document that shows the date of admission, class of admission, and admitted-until date. Learn more on the CBP website. If a traveler needs a copy of their I-94 for verification of alien registration, immigration status or employment authorization, it can be obtained from www.cbp.gov/I94. You can review information about admission on the CBP website.

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Q.16 I did not turn in my I-94 when I left the United States. What should I do?

Previously, foreign travelers granted entry by CBP officials received a paper Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record). This process is now automated, with some exceptions. If you received a paper Form I-94 or I-94W and failed to turn in your paper Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record to the commercial airline or CBP when you departed the United States, see the CBP Website for instructions. Do not send your paper Form I-94 or I-94W to the U.S. Embassy.

If you received an admissions stamp in your passport instead of a paper Form I-94 when granted entry, the I-94 record was created electronically, and a paper copy was not provided to you. CBP will record your departure from the U.S. electronically. Learn more on the CBP Website.

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Q.17 I have questions on submitting my DS-160 and printing the confirmation page. Where can I go for more information?

Our call center is unable to provide assistance on the application form. Any inquiries on completing the DS-160 can be addressed on the following website.

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Q.18 Does my minor child need to appear in person for the interview?

Minors 13 years old or younger do not need to appear in person at the interview, but may be represented by a parent or guardian, and if the parents are not available, by another family member. Minors 14 years old or older must appear in person.

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Q.19 Can a relative accompany a child to the interview?

A family member may accompany a minor applicant to the interview if the applicant is 17 years old or younger.

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FAQ - Visa Refusals

  1. What is Section 214(b)?
  2. How can an applicant prove "strong ties?"
  3. Is a denial under Section 214(b) permanent?
  4. Who can influence the consular officer to reverse a decision?
  5. Is ineligibility under Section 212(f) permanent?
  6. I was denied under Section 212(f) of the INA. What does this mean?

The United States is an open society. Unlike many other countries, the United States does not impose internal controls on most visitors, such as registration with local authorities. Our immigration law requires consular officers to view every visa applicant as an intending immigrant until the applicant proves otherwise. In order to enjoy the privilege of unencumbered travel in the United States, you have a responsibility to prove you are going to return abroad before a visitor or student visa is issued.

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Q.1 What Is Section 214(b)?

Section 214(b) is part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). It states:

(b) Every alien (other than a nonimmigrant described in subparagraph (L) or (V) of section 101(a)(15), and other than a nonimmigrant described in any provision of section 101(a)(15)(H)(i) except subclause (b1) of such section) shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for a visa, and the immigration officers, at the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant status under section 101(a)(15). An alien who is an officer or employee of any foreign government or of any international organization entitled to enjoy privileges, exemptions, and immunities under the International Organizations Immunities Act, or an alien who is the attendant, servant, employee, or member of the immediate family of any such alien shall not be entitled to apply for or receive an immigrant visa, or to enter the United States as an immigrant unless he executes a written waiver in the same form and substance as is prescribed by section 247(b).

Our consular officers have a difficult job. They must decide in a very short time if someone is qualified to receive a temporary visa. Most cases are decided after a brief interview and review of whatever evidence of ties the consular officer requests. To qualify for a visitor or student visa, an applicant must meet the requirements of sections 101(a)(15)(B) or (F) of the INA respectively. Failure to do so will result in a refusal of a visa under INA 214(b). The most frequent basis for such a refusal concerns the requirement that the prospective visitor or student possess a residence abroad he or she has no intention of abandoning. Applicants prove the existence of such residence by demonstrating that they have ties abroad that would compel them to leave the United States at the end of the temporary stay. The law places this burden of proof on the applicant.

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Q.2 How can an applicant prove "strong ties?"

Ties are the various aspects of your life that bind you to your home country. Strong ties vary from country to country, city to city, and person to person, but examples include:

  • Your job;
  • Your home; and/or
  • Your relationships with family and friends.

While conducting visa interviews, consular officers look at each application individually and consider the applicant's circumstances, travel plans, financial resources, and ties outside of the United States that will ensure the applicant’s departure after a temporary visit.

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Q.3 Is a denial under Section 214(b) permanent?

No. A refusal, or ineligibility, under section 214(b) is for that specific application, so once a case is closed, the consular section cannot take any further action. There is no appeal process. If you feel there is additional information that should be considered related to the visa decision, or there are significant changes in your circumstances since your last application, you may reapply for a visa. To reapply, you must complete a new application form, pay the application fee, and schedule an appointment for a new interview. Review the website of the U.S. Embassy where you plan to reapply to learn about any reapplication procedures.

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Q.4 Who can influence the consular officer to reverse a decision?

Immigration law delegates the responsibility for issuance or refusal of visas to consular officers overseas. They have the final say on all visa cases. By regulation, the U.S. Department of State has authority to review consular decisions, but this authority is limited to the interpretation of law, as contrasted to determinations of facts. The question at issue in such denials, whether an applicant possesses the required residence abroad, is a factual one. Therefore, it falls exclusively within the authority of consular officers at our Foreign Service posts to resolve. An applicant can influence the post to change a prior visa denial only through the presentation of new convincing evidence of strong ties.

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Q.5 I was denied under Section 212(f) of the INA. What does this mean?

Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act allows the President to prohibit entry into the United States of any alien or class of aliens whose entry he deems would be detrimental to U.S. interests.

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Q.6 Is ineligibility under Section 212(f) permanent?

No. If the applicant chooses to apply in the future for a visa, the application would be adjudicated based on the evidence presented and the applicant’s situation at the time of the new application.

For information about visa ineligibilities other than 214(b), please visit the Department of State's Consular Affairs website.

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FAQ - Business/Tourist Visa

  1. How long can I stay in the United States on a tourist or business visa?
  2. My visitor visa (B-1/B-2) expires after my intended date of arrival in the United States. Do I need to get a new visa before departure?
  3. My U.S. visa will expire in the next 6 months. Do I need to apply for a new visa after my current visa expires or can I apply in advance?
  4. I currently hold a valid B-1/B-2 visa, which is in my maiden name, in my old passport. I wish to transfer this visa to my new passport, which is in my married name. What is the procedure?
  5. My current U.S. visa was issued to me when I was working in my previous job. Now I have changed to a new job at a new company and my new employer wants me to attend a conference in the United States, scheduled for next month. Can I use the same visa or do I have to apply for a new visa?
  6. My child is studying in the United States. Can I go live with him?

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Q.1 How long can I stay in the United States on a tourist or business visa?

A U.S. nonimmigrant visa grants you permission to travel to a Port of Entry (airport/seaport) in the United States. When you arrive at your destination Port of Entry, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer who processes your entry will determine the length of time that you may remain in the country. You may travel to the Port of Entry during the validity of your nonimmigrant visa up to and including the last day the visa is valid. The visa duration does not determine the length of time that you may legally remain in the United States; only the Customs and Border Protection officer can decide this upon your arrival in the United States.

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Q.2 My visitor visa (B-1/B-2) expires after my intended date of arrival in the United States. Do I need to get a new visa before departure?

You can arrive in the United States right up to the last date of validity indicated on the visa. The Customs and Border Protection officer on arrival determines the duration of your stay in the United States. Your visa can expire while you are still in the United States – just be sure that you do not overstay the period of time the officer grants.

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Q.3 My U.S. visa will expire in the next 6 months. Do I need to apply for a new visa after my current visa expires or can I apply in advance?

You do not have to wait until your current visa expires. You can apply for a new visa even if your current visa is valid.

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Q.4 I currently hold a valid B-1/B-2 visa, which is in my maiden name, in my old passport. I wish to transfer this visa to my new passport, which is in my married name. What is the procedure?

U.S. visas cannot be transferred from one passport to another. You can travel to the United States with both passports as well as your marriage certificate, or you can apply for a new visa.

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Q.5 My current U.S. visa was issued to me when I was working in my previous job. Now I have changed to a new job at a new company and my new employer wants me to attend a conference in the United States, scheduled for next month. Can I use the same visa or do I have to apply for a new visa?

You can travel to the United States on the same visa as long as your visa is valid for business or pleasure.

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Q.6 My child is studying in the United States. Can I go live with him?

While you can use your own B-1/B-2 visa (or travel under the Visa Waiver Program, if eligible) to visit your child, you may not live with your child unless you have your own immigrant, work, or student visa.

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FAQ - Work Visa

  1. What is a petition?
  2. Can I get a visa to do casual work?
  3. Is there an age limit for applying for a temporary work visa?
  4. Can my U.S.-based relative sponsor me for a work visa?
  5. When can I enter the United States?
  6. Who pays the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee and when do they pay it?

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Q.1 What is a petition?

Before applying for a temporary worker visa at the U.S. Embassy you must have an approved Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, from USCIS. This petition must be submitted by your prospective employer no earlier than 6 months prior to your proposed employment start date. Your employer should file the petition as soon as possible within the 6-month period to allow adequate time for processing. Once approved, your employer will be sent Form I-797, Notice of Action. For more information, visit the USCIS Temporary Workers webpage.

Note: To verify your petition's approval the U.S. Embassy needs your I-129 petition receipt number, along with your approved Form I-797. Please bring both of these to your interview.

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Q.2 Can I get a visa to do casual work?

No. There is no visa that covers casual work. All applicants who plan to work in the United States must have an approved petition prior to their visa appointment.

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Q.3 Is there an age limit for applying for a temporary work visa?

No.

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Q.4 Can my U.S.-based relative sponsor me for a work visa?

No. Only your employer can sponsor you.

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Q.5 When can I enter the United States?

You may not enter the United States until 10 days prior to your initial employment start date, as noted on your Form I-797 or on your offer of employment letter.

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Q.6 Who pays the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee and when do they pay it?

An applicant for an L-1 visa traveling on a blanket petition must pay the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee. On individual L, H-1B and H-2B petitions, the U.S. petitioner pays the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee to USCIS when the petition is filed.

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FAQ - Student Visa

  1. What is an I-20 and how do I get it?
  2. How early should I apply for my student visa?
  3. I received my visa, when should I travel?
  4. Can a person on a visitor visa change his or her status to student while in the United States if he or she gains admission to a school and gets a Form I-20?
  5. What if I receive an I-20 to a different school?
  6. I was working as an H-1B and have now been admitted to a university as an F-1. Do I need to return to my country to apply for a student visa?
  7. Can an F-1 student work in the United States?
  8. What is the SEVIS system and how does it affect me?

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Q.1 What is an I-20 and how do I get it?

The Form I-20 is an official U.S. government form, issued by a certified school, which a prospective nonimmigrant student must have in order to get an F-1 or M-1 visa. Form I-20 acts as proof-of-acceptance and contains the information necessary to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, apply for a visa or change visa status, and be admitted into the United States. The Form I-20 has the student's SEVIS identification number, which starts with the letter N and is followed by nine digits, on the upper right side directly above the barcode.

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Q.2 How early should I apply for my student visa?

You are encouraged to apply for your nonimmigrant student visa as soon as you have your I-20. To ensure you get an early and timely date you may apply at any time. However, a student visa may be issued no more than 120 days prior to the start date mentioned on your I-20.

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Q.3 I received my visa, when should I travel?

For your initial entry, you may only enter the United States within 30 days of the beginning of the course of study stated on your I-20, regardless of when your visa was issued.

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Q.4 Can a person on a visitor visa change his or her status to student while in the United States if he or she gains admission to a school and gets a Form I-20?

Yes. In general, you may apply to change your nonimmigrant visa status if you were lawfully admitted to the United States with a nonimmigrant visa, if your nonimmigrant status remains valid, if you have not violated the conditions of your status, and you have not committed any actions that would make you ineligible. You may not begin your course of study until the change of status is approved, and you may encounter lengthy processing times. For more details, please visit the USCIS website.

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Q.5 What if I receive an I-20 to a different school?

If you received an I-20 after scheduling your appointment, then you can inform the U.S. consular officer of the new I-20 at the time of the interview.

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Q.6 I was working as an H-1B and have now been admitted to a university as an F-1. Do I need to return to my country to apply for a student visa?

No. Once you are in the United States, you do not need to apply for a new visa because the visa is only for entry into the United States. Check with USCIS to determine if you need to adjust status. If you leave the country, however, you'll need to apply for the student visa in order to re-enter the United States.

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Q.7 Can an F-1 student work in the United States?

Full-time students on F-1 visas may not work off-campus during the first academic year, but may accept on-campus employment subject to certain conditions and restrictions. After the first year in student status, an applicant may apply for employment off campus with authorization from USCIS. Please contact your Designated School Officer for further information.

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Q.8 What is the SEVIS system and how does it affect me?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) program requires schools and exchange programs to verify the enrollment status of all new and continuing foreign students and exchange visitors. Student visa applicants are required to pay a SEVIS fee before a visa can be issued. The SEVIS website has more details.

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FAQ - Exchange Visitor Visa

  1. I received my visa, when should I travel?
  2. What is the SEVIS system and how does it affect me?
  3. What is the "two-year rule?"
  4. Can the two-year rule be waived?

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Q.1 I received my visa, when should I travel?

Exchange visitors may only enter the United States within 30 days of the beginning of the program, as stated on your Form DS-2019, regardless of when your visa was issued.

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Q.2 What is the SEVIS system and how does it affect me?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) program requires schools and exchange programs to verify the enrollment status of all new and continuing foreign students and exchange visitors. Exchange visitor visa applicants are required to pay a SEVIS fee before a visa can be issued. The SEVIS website has more details.

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Q.3 What is the "two-year rule?"

The "two-year rule" is the common term used for a section of U.S. immigration law which requires many exchange visitors to return to their home countries and be physically present there for at least two years after the conclusion of their exchange visit before they can return to the U.S. under certain types of visas, specifically temporary worker (H), intracompany transferee (L), fiancé(e) (K)and immigrant visas. It is important to note that only a preliminary finding of whether the two-year rule applies to you is made on your DS-2019 when your J-1 visa is issued. The final decision will be made only if you later choose to apply for an H, L, K, or immigrant visa.

J-1 visa holders subject to the two-year rule are not permitted to remain in the United States and apply for an adjustment/change of status to a prohibited nonimmigrant status (for example, from a J-1 visa to an H-1 visa) or to apply for legal permanent resident status (Green Card) without first returning home for two years or obtaining an approved waiver. Whether you are subject to the two-year rule is determined by a number of factors, including your source of funding and your country's "Skills List." It is not determined by the amount of time you spend in the United States.

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Q.4 Can the two-year rule be waived?

Possibly. Only the Department of State's Visa Office can grant waivers of the two-year rule. The Visa Office is also the final authority on whether you are subject to the rule, regardless of what is annotated in your visa. If you are subject to the two-year rule, you may be able to obtain a waiver. Even if you are subject to the two-year rule, you may still qualify for a tourist visa or any other nonimmigrant visa except those noted above.

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FAQ - Transit/Ship Crew Visa

  1. I plan to stop in the United States for a day and take a flight to another country on the next day. Do I need to apply for C-1 visa or a B-1/B-2 visa?

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Q.1 I plan to stop in the United States for a day and take a flight to another country on the next day. Do I need to apply for C-1 visa or a B-1/B-2 visa?

A transit visa, also known as C-1 visa, is used when a citizen of a foreign country will travel in immediate and continuous transit through the United States in route to a foreign destination. In order to qualify for a transit visa, it is required to present a valid permission or visa to enter the country of destination upon departure from the United States.

If you seek layover privileges for purposes other than transiting through the United States, such as to visit friends or for sightseeing, then you must qualify for and obtain the type of visa required for that purpose, such as a B-2 visa.

Crew members applying for C-1/D visas will also be evaluated for B-1/B-2 visas at the time of their visa interview. If they are qualified for both the C-1/D and the B-1/B-2 visa, they will be issued the B-1/B-2 visa at no additional charge.

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FAQ - Religious Worker Visa

  1. I am applying for a religious worker visa, but do not have an approved petition. I have been to the United States previously with an R-1 visa and was not required to have the petition. Can I apply for an R-1 visa without the petition since I had an R-1 visa in the past?

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Q.1 I am applying for a religious worker visa, but do not have an approved petition. I have been to the United States previously with an R-1 visa and was not required to have the petition. Can I apply for an R-1 visa without the petition since I had an R-1 visa in the past?

The requirement for an approved petition went into effect November 28, 2008. All applicants applying for an R-1 nonimmigrant visa are required to have an approved petition from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). For more information, please visit the USCIS website.

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FAQ - Track My Passport

  1. How will I get my passport back after the interview?
  2. What do I need to show to pick-up the passport at the Embassy?
  3. What types of ID are acceptable as proof-of-identity?
  4. Can someone besides me pick my passport?

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Q.1 How will I get my passport back after the interview?

Your passport will be available for pick-up at the U.S. Embassy.

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Q.2 What do I need to show to pick-up the passport at the Embassy?

In order to ensure that your passport and visa are not given to an unauthorized person, you must present a government-issued photo ID for identification when you collect your passport.

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Q.3 What types of ID are acceptable as proof-of-identity?

You must present an original government-issued photo ID.

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Q.4 Can someone besides me pick-up my passport?

Yes. However, your representative - even in case of family members - must present the following in order to collect your passport:

If a representative is collecting your passport from the document collection office on your behalf - even in case of family members - the representative must present:

  • Their own original government-issued photo ID for identification
  • A photocopy of your government-issued photo ID
  • A letter of authority, signed by you, authorizing your representative to collect your passport. The letter of authority must contain the following information:
    • Your representative's full name as shown on their government-issued photo ID
    • Your name

If the applicant is under the age of 16, the following documents are required:

  • An original, signed letter of authority from either of the applicant's parents
  • A clear photocopy of the government-issued photo ID belonging to the parent who signed the applicant's letter of authority
  • The representative's original government-issued photo ID

Note: In case of a group/family, a single letter of authority with the required information for each of the applicants will be accepted.

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FAQ - Immigrant Visa

  1. What is an immigrant visa?
  2. What time should I be at your office the day of my interview?
  3. I am disabled and using a wheelchair. Do I have to wait too long? Can someone accompany me inside your building?
  4. Can my petitioner accompany me to the interview?
  5. I’m a U.S. citizen. Can I come inside your office to accompany my relative or to inquire about a visa case?
  6. Should I get a lawyer to help me with my case?

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Q.1 What is an immigrant visa?

An immigrant visa is a document issued by a U.S. consular officer abroad that allows you to travel to the United States and apply for admission as a lawful permanent resident (LPR). Once in the United States, an immigration inspector of U.S. Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security makes the final decision as to whether or not to admit you as an LPR. Once you are admitted as an LPR, you generally have the right to live and work in the United States permanently.

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Q.2 What time should I be at your office the day of my interview?

Applicants should arrive at the park located at Calzada and K Streets two hours before their appointment. Failure to arrive at that time could delay the interview process.

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Q.3 I am disabled and using a wheelchair. Do I have to wait too long? Can someone accompany me inside your building?

We give disabled applicants priority and process them first. We also allow someone to accompany them if necessary.

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Q.4 Can my petitioner accompany me to the interview?

In general, petitioners are not allowed to accompany their relatives to the interview. Only in some marriage cases (IR1, CR1, K1, and some F2A cases) will the petitioner also be admitted into the building. 

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Q.5 I’m a U.S. citizen. Can I come inside your office to accompany my relative or to inquire about a visa case?

Building access is granted for U.S. citizen services only (e.g. notarials, birth reports, emergency assistance). U.S. citizens requiring services should show their U.S. passport to the Cuban police surrounding the Embassy in order to approach the gate. Access will not be granted for personal inquiries regarding visa cases or to accompany applicants, with the exception of the physically/mentally disabled, minors, or in certain marriage-based cases.

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Q.6 Should I get a lawyer to help me with my case?

The decision as to whether or not to hire a lawyer or other representative is yours alone. We cannot tell you whether or not to obtain representation, nor can we recommend any specific lawyers. Even if you hire an attorney or other representative, that person may NOT accompany the applicant to the visa interview.

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FAQ - Family-Based Immigrant Visas

  1. How can someone obtain an immigrant visa?
  2. Where should I start?
  3. Can I file an immigrant visa petition at the U.S. Embassy?
  4. The family-based petition my relative filed for me was approved. Now what?
  5. How do I find out if my petition has become current?
  6. How do I schedule an interview appointment for an immigrant visa?
  7. My immigrant visa petition has already been completed but an interview appointment has not been scheduled for the beneficiary. Why?
  8. How can I cancel a petition?
  9. The beneficiary’s interview has been scheduled but the beneficiary has not received the packet of forms and instructions required for the consular interview. What should I do?
  10. How can the beneficiary have the required medical examination done?
  11. The beneficiary was not able to get the required documentation on time for the interview. What happens now?
  12. The person who filed the petition on my behalf is not working. Does he or she still need to submit an Affidavit of Support?
  13. Can the beneficiary of an immigrant visa request parole?
  14. Will I receive my immigrant visa on the same day of my visa interview?
  15. How do officers decide if my visa is approved or not?
  16. After I receive my visa, do I have to pay any other fees?
  17. The principal beneficiary does not wish to immigrate to the United States, but the derivatives want to continue with the petition. Is this possible?
  18. What happens if the petitioner dies before the principal beneficiary has immigrated to the United States?
  19. What happens if the petitioner dies after the principal beneficiary has immigrated to the United States?
  20. What happens to the derivative beneficiary's case if the principal beneficiary dies?
  21. I was unable to travel to the United States during the validity of my visa. Can I get an extension?
  22. What documentation do I need to bring to be considered for a visa replacement?
  23. Will a replacement be automatic?
  24. My visa was refused. Why did this happen and what do I do now?
  25. Can I overcome a visa refusal?
  26. What is a waiver and how do I get one?

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Q.1 How can someone obtain an immigrant visa?

There are three basic methods for obtaining an immigrant visa: 1) through a qualifying family relationship with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident or 2) through employment or 3) through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (the visa lottery). Most applicants in Cuba obtain their immigrant visas via family relationships. Due to restrictions in U.S. Law, Cuban citizens generally do not qualify for employment-based immigrant visas.

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Q.2 Where should I start?

To obtain a family-based immigrant visa, you must be the beneficiary of an approved Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security. Your U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident relative in the United States generally must file the I-130 petition at the USCIS Service Center in the United States with jurisdiction over his or her place of residence. The instructions for the I-130 will inform you relative where and how to file this. Once your relative has filed a petition for you, you may check its status by accessing the USCIS Case Status Search Page.

If you wish to participate in the Diversity Visa Program, you must submit your entry online at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov during the registration period, which normally runs from early October to early November. Actual dates are announced by the U.S. Department of State each year. IMPORTANT: Please read all the instructions carefully before submitting your Diversity Visa Program entry. Failure to strictly follow the instructions, especially including ALL required family members, may result in denial of your case when you appear for the consular interview.

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Q.3 Can I file an immigrant visa petition at the U.S. Embassy?

Only U.S. citizens who officially reside in Cuba can file an immigrant visa petition at the USCIS Office in Havana, located in the U.S. Embassy Annex Building. Other U.S. citizens must file their petition in the United States. Fiancé(e) visa petitions may only be filed in the United States.

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Q.4 The family-based petition my relative filed for me was approved. Now what?

USCIS will send the approved immigrant visa petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The petitioner will receive notifications and instructions for further processing of the case from NVC. NVC retains the approved petition until the case is current, i.e. ready for adjudication by a consular officer abroad. Petitions may remain at NVC for several months or for many years depending on the visa category and country of birth of the visa applicant.

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Q.5 How do I find out if my petition has become current?

The NVC will notify the petitioner. You may also consult the monthly visa bulletin published by the Department of State, available through http://travel.state.gov. This information is also available by calling (202) 485-7699in the United States.

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Q.6 How do I schedule an interview appointment for an immigrant visa?

Once the case is completed and there is an appointment slot available at the U.S. Embassy, the National Visa Center will send the petitioner in the United States a letter with the applicant’s interview date or further instructions regarding the scheduling of the appointment.

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Q.7 My immigrant visa petition has already been completed but an interview appointment has not been scheduled for the beneficiary. Why?

Given the resources available, the U.S. Embassy can only offer a limited number of immigrant visa interviews per day. At times, immigrant visa applicants may have to wait several months for their interview appointment.

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Q.8 How can I cancel a petition?

If the petition is with the National Visa Center, the petitioner should contact that office directly. If the petition is at U.S. Embassy, the petitioner should send a signed statement via e-mail to havanaconsularinfo@state.gov requesting to withdraw the petition. The petitioner should attach a copy of page 2 of his/her U.S. passport or his/her permanent resident card, as applicable.

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Q.9 The beneficiary’s interview has been scheduled but the beneficiary has not received the packet of forms and instructions required for the consular interview. What should I do?

The U.S. Embassy does not send packets to beneficiaries in Cuba. Information on the documents required for the interview is sent by the NVC. The required forms can be downloaded by visiting our website at http://havana.usint.gov/ or http://travel.state.gov/.

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Q.10 How can the beneficiary have the required medical examination done?

Petitioners in the United States should send the beneficiary in Cuba a copy of their interview appointment letter along with the list of hospitals sent to them by the National Visa Center. For information about the procedure to have the medical exam done, you need to contact the appropriate Cuban authorities.

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Q.11 The beneficiary was not able to get the required documentation on time for the interview. What happens now?

Immigrant visa beneficiaries may still come to their interview, but the interviewing officer will not provide the applicant with a final decision in the case. The interviewing consular officer will temporarily refuse the case and provide the beneficiary a pass to return to the U.S. Embassy when the required documentation has been obtained. Once the beneficiary returns, the case will be reopened. Beneficiaries must submit the requested documentation within one year of the date of their interview, or the case will automatically close.

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Q.12 The person who filed the petition on my behalf is not working. Does he or she still need to submit an Affidavit of Support?

Yes. Most immigrant visa applicants are subject to the I-864 (Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act) requirement. Therefore, the petitioner must submit an I-864 for you. Otherwise, the consular officer will not be able to issue you a visa. This requirement applies even if the petitioner is not working or is working but does not earn enough money to support you. In these circumstances, your petitioner may find a joint sponsor who is willing to file an I-864 for you, or he or she may have a household member who is willing to file a Form I-864A (Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member). Every I-864 and I-864A must be accompanied by proof that the filer is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, and at least the sponsor’s most recent income tax return (Form 1040) and Wage and Tax Statement (Form W-2). If the petitioner is not working, he or she must state this on the I-864.

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Q.13 Can the beneficiary of an immigrant visa request parole?

Most immigrant visa applicants who are over 21 years may request Family Based Parole for certain family members during their consular interview. The initial interview is their only opportunity to request Family Based Parole. The applicant will need to complete a parole request sheet when they arrive at the U.S. Embassy the day of their interview. Following the interview, the applicant will have no further opportunity to request Family Based Parole. Final decisions regarding parole requests are made by an USCIS official. Applicants generally are given the outcome of their parole requests six to eight weeks after receiving their visa.

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Q.14 Will I receive my immigrant visa on the same day of my visa interview?

No. Immigrant visa processing generally takes one week. However, some cases are subject to additional administrative processing. This process often lasts 90-120 days, but in some instances, it may take up to a year or more to complete. The U.S. Embassy cannot adjudicate a visa case until this process has concluded. The U.S. Embassy will contact the applicant as soon as this process has been completed and a final determination has been made on the case.

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Q.15 How do officers decide if my visa is approved or not?

Consular officers base their decisions solely on the law, regulations, and Department of State policy. On the day of your immigrant visa appointment, the consular officer will interview you and either will approve your visa or deny it. If the consular officer approves your visa, you will receive a pass with instructions to pick up the visa package. If the visa is refused, the consular officer will give you a refusal letter listing the section of law under which your visa was refused. The letter will also give you detailed instructions on what to do next, e.g.: providing additional documents. It is very important that you follow the instructions exactly. If you don’t follow the instructions, your case may be delayed, and it is possible that you will lose your chance to live and work in the United States.

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Q.16 After I receive my visa, do I have to pay any other fees?

Most immigrant visa applicants who receive their immigrant visas on or after February 1, 2013, are required by USCIS to pay an additional fee. The fee covers the costs to process, produce and issue documents, such as your Green Card. Payments are made online at www.USCIS.gov/ImmigrantFee before the beneficiary travels to the United States. Applicants subject to the fee are given a letter with more information and instructions when they pick up their visa. For more information on the fee, please visit: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/our-fees.

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Q.17 The principal beneficiary does not wish to immigrate to the United States, but the derivatives want to continue with the petition. Is this possible?

No. The derivatives must immigrate either at the same time or after the principal beneficiary.

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Q.18 What happens if the petitioner dies before the principal beneficiary has immigrated to the United States?

If the petitioner dies before the principal beneficiary has immigrated to the United States, the petition is automatically revoked. This means that the consular officer will not be able to issue a visa to any of the beneficiaries of the petition and will be required to return the petition to USCIS for them to take final action. There are exceptions in the laws for spouses of U.S. citizens applying with for an IR-1 visa. Otherwise, an applicant may contact directly the USCIS office that approved the petition to request that it be reinstated for compelling humanitarian reasons. If USCIS reinstates the petition, the consular section will contact the applicant and provide instructions for further processing.

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Q.19 What happens if the petitioner dies after the principal beneficiary has immigrated to the United States?

Eligibility of derivative applicants seeking to follow to join a principal beneficiary who has already acquired lawful permanent resident (LPR) status is dependent on the continuing lawful permanent resident status of the principal, not on the status of the petitioner. Therefore, if the petitioner dies after the principal applicant has already become an LPR and one or more derivative applicants seek to follow to join the principal applicant, the derivatives retain eligibility to follow to join despite the death of the petitioner.

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Q.20 What happens to the derivative beneficiary's case if the principal beneficiary dies?

If the principal beneficiary dies at any time before the derivative beneficiary immigrates to the United States, the consular officer will not be able to issue a visa to the derivative beneficiary.

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Q.21 I was unable to travel to the United States during the validity of my visa. Can I get an extension?

No. Immigrant visa holders and CFRP parole recipients who are unable to travel to the United States during the validity of their visa for reasons beyond their control should schedule an interview appointment to be considered for a visa replacement. The applicant should take this step only when s/he is ready to travel to the United States.

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Q.22 What documentation do I need to bring to be considered for a visa replacement?

Beneficiaries are required to bring (1) recent passport style photograph, current medical examination results and current police records (for applicants 16 years of age or older), valid passport, a nonrefundable visa fee (please see our consular fees) and the travel packet issued to the applicant by the U.S. Embassy. In addition, beneficiaries will need to demonstrate that they were unable to travel during the validity of their visa for reasons beyond their control. Immigrant visas can only be replaced within a limited time, depending on the type of visa; once this time limit has passed, no replacement visa can be issued, even if the failure to travel was beyond the applicant’s control.

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Q.23 Will a replacement be automatic?

No. All requests for visa replacements must be evaluated by a consular officer, who will evaluate that the visa applicant was unable to travel during the validity of their visa for reasons beyond their control, and that the applicant still qualifies for the visa. The application is a new application, and all other legal requirements for the issuance of an immigrant visa must be met.

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Q.24 My visa was refused. Why did this happen and what do I do now?

U.S. consular officers are only allowed to issue immigrant visas to those applicants who qualify under the law. A visa can be refused for a variety of reasons. For example, your immigrant visa could be denied if you have a criminal record, if you lie during your visa interview, if you lived in the United States without permission, or if your economic documents are insufficient, among many other possible reasons. If your visa is denied, you will receive a letter from the consular officer explaining under what section of the law your visa was denied.

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Q.25 Can I overcome a visa refusal?

Some immigrant visa refusals may be overcome with additional evidence; some may require a waiver from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before a visa can be issued; and some refusals are permanent. The refusal letter will state whether a refusal can be overcome or if a waiver may be available.

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Q.26 What is a waiver and how do I get one?

A waiver is a special authorization granted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to put aside an ineligibility. The Consular Section does not accept or decide waiver requests. Waiver requests are filed directly with USCIS in the United States, although in limited cases they may be filed directly with the USCIS office in Havana. For detailed information about the waiver process please visit the USCIS web page at: http://www.uscis.gov/

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FAQ - Diversity Visa Lottery (DV)

  1. I received an e-mail notifying me that I was selected to participate in the DV program. How can I confirm its authenticity?
  2. How will I be notified that I’m a winner?
  3. I was selected to participate in the DV program. Does this mean I’m getting a visa?
  4. What is the cost of a DV visa?
  5. After I receive my DV visa, do I have to pay any other fees?
  6. I was issued a visa by the U.S. Embassy but I have not been able to travel. Do I lose my visa?
  7. I was issued a DV visa years ago by the U.S. Embassy but I was not able to travel. Can I apply for a visa replacement?
  8. Can I request parole the day of my interview?
  9. I was denied at my interview, is there an appeal process?
  10. I was notified by the Kentucky Consular Center that I was a winner of this lottery. Why was I denied at the time of my interview?
  11. The consular officer said I was denied because I did not list all my stepchildren when I entered the lottery. But my brother-in-law filled out the form for me and forgot about my stepchild. Is there a way around this?

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Q.1 I received an e-mail notifying me that I was selected to participate in the DV program. How can I confirm its authenticity?

DV applicants NO longer receive a notification letter or email informing them that they were selected for DV processing. If you receive an e-mail requesting personal information or money to pay for visa processing, please DO NOT send any of these since this is most probably a scam.

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Q.2 How will I be notified that I’m a winner?

A successfully-registered entry results in a confirmation screen containing your name and a unique confirmation number which you should print and retain. Applicants can only find out if they were selected to continue with DV processing by checking their status online using their confirmation number at the "Entry Check Status" link at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov/. This is the sole means of informing you of your selection for the DV program.

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Q.3 I was selected to participate in the DV program. Does this mean I’m getting a visa?

No. Applicants selected to participate in this program are not guaranteed an immigrant visa to travel to the United States. More winners are selected than there are visas available, as a number of applicants will not qualify or otherwise choose not to proceed. Selection only means the applicant may get a chance to be interviewed at the U.S. Embassy by a consular officer to determine an applicant’s eligibility for an immigrant diversity visa. If interviewed and found eligible, and if visas are still available for the year, the applicant can be issued an immigrant visa.

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Q.4 What is the cost of a DV visa?

There is no cost to enter the DV lottery. Any person or website claiming the U.S. government charges a fee to do this is likely running a scam. However, applicants selected for an interview are charged a nonrefundable fee per person, paid at the U.S. Embassy consular cashier on the day of their interview. Please check our consular fees for up-to-date information. There is no additional charge for the issuance of a DV visa.

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Q.5 After I receive my DV visa, do I have to pay any other fees?

All applicants who receive their immigrant visas on or after February 1, 2013, are required by USCIS to pay an additional fee. The fee covers the costs to process, produce and issue documents, such as your Green Card. Payments are made online at www.USCIS.gov/ImmigrantFee before the beneficiary’s traveling to the United States. For more information, please visit: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/our-fees.

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Q.6 I was issued a visa by the U.S. Embassy but I have not been able to travel. Do I lose my visa?

Only a limited number of diversity visas are available worldwide in the fiscal year. The Diversity Visa program ends each year on September 30 or when the last available visa is issued, whichever is earlier. After that point, no additional visas can be issued, for any reason. Before this point, under some circumstances a replacement visa may be issued, but additional fees are required.

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Q.7 I was issued a DV visa years ago by the U.S. Embassy but I was not able to travel. Can I apply for a visa replacement?

No. Diversity Visas cannot be issued or replaced after September 30 of the fiscal year in which they were issued, for any reason.

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Q.8 Can I request parole the day of my interview?

Yes, current regulations permit a DV winner to request parole for certain family members the day of the winner’s interview at the U.S. Embassy.

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Q.9 I was denied at my interview, is there an appeal process?

No. There is no appeal process to overcome a visa denial under the DV program.

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Q.10 I was notified by the Kentucky Consular Center that I was a winner of this lottery. Why was I denied at the time of my interview?

Diversity Visa applicants are subject to all the same general requirements as any other immigrant visa applicant. In addition, the Diversity Visa program has very strict rules and requirements. Failure to comply with these rules and requirements may result in the automatic denial of the application.

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Q.11 The consular officer said I was denied because I did not list all my stepchildren when I entered the lottery. But my brother-in-law filled out the form for me and forgot about my stepchild. Is there a way around this?

No. The strict rules of the Diversity Visa program specifically say that all entries must include the name, date and place of birth of the applicant's spouse and all natural children, as well as all legally-adopted children and stepchildren, who are unmarried and under the age of 21 (except children who are already U.S citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents), even if the applicant is no longer legally married to the child's parent, and even if the spouse or child does not currently reside with the applicant and/or will not immigrate with the applicant. If the entry fails to include their spouse or any child or stepchild’s name on the original DV entry form, the consular officer is required to deny the visa, even if someone else filled out the entry on the applicant’s behalf. The visa application fees will not be refunded. New spouses or children acquired after the entry is submitted may be included.

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FAQ - Special Program for Cuban Migration (Bombo)

  1. I was unable to travel to the United States during the validity of my travel documents. Can I get an extension?
  2. What documentation do I need to bring to be considered for a parole renewal?
  3. Will a renewal be automatic?

IMPORTANT:
The Special Program for Cuban Migration (the Bombo) has been indefinitely suspended since 2007. No new appointment requests are being accepted. At this time, there are no plans to resume this program

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Q.1 I was unable to travel to the United States during the validity of my travel documents. Can I get an extension?

No. We cannot extend a parole visa. However, USCIS may be able to renew it. Parole beneficiaries who are unable to travel to the United States during the validity of their travel documents for reasons beyond their control should contact our Visa Information and Appointment Scheduling Service at 1-866-374-1769 to schedule an interview appointment to be considered for parole renewal. The beneficiary should take this step only when s/he is ready to travel.

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Q.2 What documentation do I need to bring to be considered for a parole renewal?

Parole applicants are required to bring (1) recent passport style photograph, a DS-230 immigrant visa application form, current medical examination results and current police records (for applicants 16 years of age or older), valid passport, and the travel packet issued to the applicant by the U.S. Embassy. In addition, parole applicants will need to demonstrate that they were unable to travel during the validity of their travel documents for reasons beyond their control.

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Q.3 Will a renewal be automatic?

No. All requests for parole renewals must be evaluated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in Havana and must meet the criteria for the program.

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FAQ - Fiancé(e) visas

  1. What is a fiancé(e) visa?
  2. How do I obtain a fiancé(e) visa?
  3. Once my fiancé(e) visa petition has been approved by USCIS, what comes next?
  4. Can I file a fiancé(e) petition at the U.S. Embassy?
  5. Will my fiancé(e) be contacted when the National Visa Center sends the case to the U.S. Embassy in Havana?
  6. I scheduled my fiancé(e)'s interview appointment but the date given is past the expiration date of my petition. Could you expedite the appointment?
  7. How can I cancel a petition?
  8. Are there any interview fees for beneficiaries of a fiancé(e) visa?
  9. I have wedding plans, can you expedite my appointment?
  10. Does the beneficiary need an Affidavit of Support the day of the interview?
  11. Can the petitioner provide an Affidavit of Support from a joint sponsor?
  12. Can I request parole for a family member?
  13. What documentation do I need to bring to be considered for a visa replacement?
  14. I was unable to travel to the United States during the validity of my visa. Can I get an extension?
  15. My fiancé(e) was denied a visa because the interviewing consular officer determined that our relationship was not bona fide, can I appeal this decision?
  16. My fiancé(e) was scheduled for a relationship interview at the U.S. Embassy. Does the petitioner need to be present?
  17. The relationship interview was scheduled three months from today. Can you expedite the appointment?
  18. The beneficiary withdrew the visa application at the time of the interview but later changed her mind. Can we reverse the action taken?
  19. Could the case be reconsidered if I marry my fiancé(e)?
  20. My petition was sent to the U.S. for revocation. Will that have a negative impact on future immigration matters?

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Q.1 What is a fiancé(e) visa?

A fiancé(e) visa (or K-1 visa) is for foreigners who wish to marry a U.S. citizen in the United States and then become lawful permanent residents without having to leave the United States. K-2 visas are for the children of K-1 applicants.

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Q.2 How do I obtain a fiancé(e) visa?

Your U.S. citizen fiancé(e) must file a Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the U.S. The form instructions will provide the information about how and where to file the I-129F. Once your fiancé(e) has filed a petition for you, you may check its status by accessing the USCIS Case Status Search Page.

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Q.3 Once my fiancé(e) visa petition has been approved by USCIS, what comes next?

USCIS forwards the approved petition to the National Visa Center, which then sends it to the Immigrant Visa/Parole (IV/) Unit of the U.S. Embassy in Havana. The IV/P Unit will send you a telegram informing you that your case file has been received and you may pick up a package of forms and instructions at our office. You may also find detailed documentation about the required documentation at: http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_2994.html#6.

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Q.4 Can I file a fiancé(e) petition at the U.S. Embassy?

No. All fiancé(e) petitions must be filed in the United States. Please visit the USCIS website for information on how to file a petition: www.uscis.gov.

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Q.5 Will my fiancé(e) be contacted when the National Visa Center sends the case to the U.S. Embassy in Havana?

The U.S. Embassy will send a written notice to the applicant once the file has been received. However, given that the mail system can sometimes be unreliable, we recommend that the petitioner contact the National Visa Center periodically to confirm that the case file has been sent to our office. Once the petitioner confirms that the case is at Post, the petitioner or applicant may schedule an appointment through the website http://www.ustraveldocs.com/cu (English) or http://www.ustraveldocs.com/cu_es (Spanish). Applicants will also be able to schedule appointments by telephone in the United States at (786) 408-5995.

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Q.6 I scheduled my fiancé(e)'s interview appointment but the date given is past the expiration date of my petition. Could you expedite the appointment?

No. If the visa is approved but the petition has expired, a consular officer will revalidate the petition at the time of the interview.

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Q.7 How can I cancel a petition?

If the petition is with the National Visa Center, the petitioner should contact that office directly. If the petition is at U.S. Embassy, the petitioner should send us a signed statement via e-mail at: havanaconsularinfo@state.gov requesting to withdraw the petition. The petitioner should attach a copy of pages 2-3 (the biographic data page with the photo and the page with the signature) of his/her U.S. passport.

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Q.8 Are there any interview fees for beneficiaries of a fiancé(e) visa?

Yes, the beneficiary and any derivatives in the case must pay a nonrefundable fee at the consular section cashier the day of their interview. Please refer to our consular fees for up-to-date information.

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Q.9 I have wedding plans, can you expedite my appointment?

No. Given the large demand of applicants and the limited resources available at the U.S. Embassy, we are unable to expedite fiancé(e) interview appointments unless there is a critical and urgent situation that justifies expeditious processing. Wedding plans do not justify expeditious processing.

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Q.10 Does the beneficiary need an Affidavit of Support the day of the interview?

Not necessarily, but we strongly recommend one. Fiancé(e) visa applicant must be able to demonstrate that they will not become a public charge in the United States. The simplest way to do so is often by submitting an affidavit of support (Form I-134), accompanied by a copy of page 2 of the petitioner’s American passport, and at least the most recent IRS income tax return (Form 1040) and Wage and Tax Statement (Form W-2).

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Q.11 Can the petitioner provide an Affidavit of Support from a joint sponsor?

Yes, if the petitioner’s income is insufficient to show the applicant will not become a public charge in the United States.

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Q.12 Can I request parole for a family member?

No, beneficiaries of fiancé(e) visas are not eligible to request parole.

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Q.13 What documentation do I need to bring to be considered for a visa replacement?

Beneficiaries are required to bring (1) recent passport style photograph, current medical examination results and current police records (for applicants 16 years of age or older), valid passport, a nonrefundable visa fee (please see our consular fees) and the travel packet issued to the applicant by the U.S. Embassy. In addition, beneficiaries will need to demonstrate that they were unable to travel during the validity of their visa for reasons beyond their control and evidence that demonstrates that the bona fides of their relationship.

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Q.14 I was unable to travel to the United States during the validity of my visa. Can I get an extension?

No. Fiancé(e) visas cannot be extended, but can be replaced under limited circumstances. Fiancé(e) visa recipients who are unable to travel to the United States during the validity of their visa for reasons beyond their control should ask the petitioner, a family member or associate in the United States to schedule an appointment at http://www.ustraveldocs.com/cu to be considered for a visa replacement. The beneficiary should take this step only when s/he is ready to travel to the United States. The visa holder will be required to interview again and show that the relationship is still valid.

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Q.15 My fiancé(e) was denied a visa because the interviewing consular officer determined that our relationship was not bona fide, can I appeal this decision?

No. Once a case is denied by a consular officer, the file is forwarded to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with a recommendation that it be revoked. There is no appeal process for a denied fiancé(e) visa at the U.S. Embassy. Petitioners should wait to be contacted by USCIS or may direct their inquiries to USCIS National Customer Service at 1-800-375-5283.

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Q.16 My fiancé(e) was scheduled for a relationship interview at the U.S. Embassy. Does the petitioner need to be present?

No. While we strongly encourage the petitioner to be present, we recognize that this is difficult or impossible for some people due to the unique circumstances of travelling to Cuba. If the petitioner cannot be present in person, he or she should call the phone number indicated on the pass at 2:00 p.m. on the date of the appointment to speak with the consular officer.

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Q.17 The relationship interview was scheduled three months from today. Can you expedite the appointment?

No. Given the large demand of applicants and the limited resources available to us, we are only able to schedule a small number of relationship interviews per week.

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Q.18 The beneficiary withdrew the visa application at the time of the interview but later changed her mind. Can we reverse the action taken?

No. Once a beneficiary signs a withdrawal form, the case is automatically sent to USCIS for revocation.

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Q.19 Could the case be reconsidered if I marry my fiancé(e)?

No. Marriage prior to the adjudication of the case will automatically invalidate the fiancé(e) petition. The petitioner would have to file an I-130 petition with USCIS to petition for the new spouse.

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Q.20 My petition was sent to the U.S. for revocation. Will that have a negative impact on future immigration matters?

It may. Individuals who seek to obtain a fraudulent fiancé(e) visa may face immigration consequences, including exclusion from obtaining parole benefits.

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FAQ - Returning resident

  1. I think I am a lawful permanent resident, but I have been out of the United States for one year or longer. I want to return to live in the United States. What do I do?

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Q.1 I think I am a lawful permanent resident, but I have been out of the United States for one year or longer. I want to return to live in the United States. What do I do?

It is possible that you may qualify for returning resident status. Returning resident status is for an alien who meets the following requirements:

  • was a lawfully-admitted permanent resident of the United States at the time of departure;
  • at the time of departure, had the intention of returning to the United States;
  • while residing abroad, did not abandon the intention of returning to the United States; and
  • is returning from a temporary residence abroad that extended beyond one year for reasons beyond his/her control.

To apply for returning resident status, you may schedule your appointment at http://www.ustraveldocs.com/cu

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FAQ - Consular fee payment

  1. Can my relative in the United States send you the money to pay for my interview at the U.S. Embassy?
  2. In which currency may I pay the immigrant visa fee?
  3. If my immigrant visa application is denied, can I get my money back?

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Q.1 Can my relative in the United States send you the money to pay for my interview at the U.S. Embassy?

No. If the immigrant visa fee has not been paid by the petitioner to NVC, the applicant needs to pay the fee in person on the day of their interview. This fee is collected by the consular cashier. Applicants processing under any of the parole programs currently processed by our consular office do not have to pay any fees. Please see our consular fees.

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Q.2 In which currency may I pay the immigrant visa fee?

Payment in U.S. Dollars (USD) is preferred, but the consular cashier can accept Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) as well. However, the payment must be in one currency (i.e., you must pay the total entirely in USD or entirely in CUC). We can only accept cash, in all bill denominations, preferably bills of 100 and 50. The current consular exchange rate is 1 USD=1CUC. Please be advised that you should only pay money to the Consular Section cashier, regardless of what anyone else may tell you. The consular cashier will issue you a receipt showing how much you paid and what services you paid for. Make sure you receive and keep your receipt, as you will need to present it during your interview.

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Q.3 If my immigrant visa application is denied, can I get my money back?

No. All consular fees are intended to pay for the applicant’s processing, which occurs regardless of the decision in the case. Therefore all consular fees are non-refundable.

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FAQ - Additional info

  1. I received my immigrant visa/parole and I am about to move to the United States. Where can I get more information about living in the United States?
  2. I still have questions about immigrant visas/paroles. How can I find more information?

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Q.1 I received my immigrant visa/parole and I am about to move to the United States. Where can I get more information about living in the United States?

Please see Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants. This booklet, produced by USCIS, contains a wealth of information on topics such as registering your child for school, maintaining your immigrant status, finding a job, and becoming a U.S. citizen.

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Q.2 I still have questions about immigrant visas/paroles. How can I find more information?

More information may be found elsewhere on our website, as well as at the State Department’s Travel.State.Gov website (http://travel.state.gov/). To listen to prerecorded information regarding visa processing in Havana, please contact the Information Unit at (53)(7) 839-4101. If your question is not answered on these websites or by the telephone information, you may send us a brief message using our “Contact Us” form on this website.

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