Immigrant Visa Information

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Overview

In general, a person who wishes to immigrate to the United States must have a petition approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before applying for an immigrant visa. The petition is filed either by a qualified relative or a potential employer at a USCIS office in the United States. Specific information about filing immigrant petitions is available on the USCIS website. An individual with an approved petition and a priority date that is current for processing (when applicable) is eligible to apply for an immigrant visa or K nonimmigrant visa.

Petitions

Effective August 15, 2011, petitioners residing in Nicaragua, where USCIS does not have a public counter presence, must file their Forms I-130 by mail with the USCIS Chicago lockbox. U.S. Embassies that do not have a USCIS presence will only be able to accept and process Forms I-130 in exceptional circumstances, as outlined below. Forms I-130 that were properly filed at an Embassy overseas where USCIS does not have a presence before August 15, 2011, will not be affected by this change.

USCIS Chicago Lockbox addresses for regular mail deliveries:
USCIS
P.O. Box 804625
Chicago, IL 60680-4107

USCIS Chicago Lockbox address for express mail and courier deliveries:
USCIS
Attn: I-130
131 South Dearborn-3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517

For additional information about how to file a Form I-130 with the USCIS Chicago lockbox, visit the USCIS website at http://www.uscis.gov or contact USCIS by telephone in the U.S. at 1-800-375-5283

USCIS Immigrant Fee

Effective December 23, 2016, all individuals issued immigrant visas overseas must pay a $220.00 USCIS Immigrant Fee before traveling to the United States. Only prospective adoptive parents whose child(ren) is/are entering the United States under either the Orphan or Hague Process, Iraqi and Afghan special immigrants who were employed by the U.S. government, returning residents, and those issued K visas are exempt from the new fee. The below USCIS website has more details on the new fee, including contact information for USCIS, if there are further questions: www.USCIS.gov/immigrantfee.

Exceptional Filing

Beginning August 15, 2011, petitioners who believe their situation merits an exception may request the Consular Section to accept the filing. Each request will be evaluated individually.

A petitioner seeking to file a Form I-130 should contact the Consular Section to request consideration for exception and explain the circumstances in detail. The Consular Section will then relay the request for an exception to the USCIS field office with jurisdiction over the Embassy. The determination of whether the case presents exceptional circumstances which warrant an exception to the general filing process will be made by USCIS. USCIS will publish guidance on the circumstances that may qualify as exceptional on their website.

Embassy Appointment

If you have an interview date, you must appear at the Embassy on the date of your appointment. Please read about security restrictions at the Embassy that describe what you can and cannot bring with you to your interview. You should bring your appointment letter and the documents required for your visa class.

Returning Residents-SB1

Please find below the instructions to qualify for a returning resident status:

Post Returning Residents- SB1 requirements.

Lost/stolen/mutilated and expired resident card (I-551) – Boarding Foil

If your Legal Permanent Resident card has been lost, stolen, or mutilated, and you have not remained outside of the U.S. for more than one year and wish to return to the U.S., you may come in person to the U.S. Embassy any Tuesday or Thursday (except Nicaraguan or US holidays) at 11:00am to apply for a boarding foil.   You will need to be prepared with the following:

Appointment Checklist:

  • Fill out the form I-131A, Application for Travel Document, available on the USCIS web site: https://www.uscis.gov/i-131a
  • Pay the $575 fee on line (see link below) and print the receipt
    USCIS ELIS: https://public-prod-elis2.uscis.dhs.gov/efile/app/app/travel/#!/
  • A photocopy of the lost resident card (if available) or alien registration number (A-Number). If you do not know your alien registration number, follow the instructions below to obtain it.
  • The mutilated resident card (if applicable).
  • Bearers of conditional legal permanent resident cards that are now expired (CR1, CR2, CR6, CF1, among others) who do not have the original Notice of Action indicating an extension of status, need to provide proof that the I-751, Petition to Remove Condition of residence, has been filed with USCIS.
  • Your valid passport.
  • One 2”x2”photo, in color with a white background
  • Police record if the resident card was lost/stolen.
  • Nicaraguan Migratory Movement if the resident card was lost/stolen.
  • Airplane ticket/boarding pass used to come to Nicaragua.

How to find your A – Number:
https://www.uscis.gov/file-online/immigrant-fee-payment-tips-finding-your-number-and-dos-case-id

Post Interview:

If your application is accepted and approved, the Consular Officer will go through other verification steps.  This process can take up to two (2) weeks to complete.  During this process we are not able to expedite your request.  Once this process is completed you will receive a boarding visa in your passport valid for up to 30 days which will only be good for one entry into the United States.  For more information about this process, please visit: https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/form-i-131a-now-available

Persons with a lost, mutilated, expired, or stolen card must request a replacement card with a USCIS office by submitting a Form I-90 upon return to the US.   For more information about this process please visit https://www.uscis.gov/i-90.  USCIS will charge a fee to replace your card.

Please note that neither USCIS nor the Embassy will issue a refund for any fees paid, regardless of the decision on the application.

Expired resident card

Persons whose resident cards have expired,  and have not remained outside of the U.S. for longer than one year and wish to return, do NOT require a boarding foil, provided:

  • The expired Permanent Resident Card had a 10-year validation period;
  • The Permanent Resident Card with a 2-year expiration date had an accompanying Form I-797, Notice of Action, indicating the status had been extended; or
  • Orders from the U.S. Government (civilian or military) showing time spent outside the U.S. was on official government business.

If any of the above applies, please consult with your air carrier prior to paying for Form I-131A.