Immigrant Visa Information

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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. All inquiries on immigrant visa issues should be forwarded to

Immigration Visa Categories

Family Sponsored Immigration
Employment Sponsored Immigration
Diversity Visa Lottery (Green Card Lottery)
K Visa for Fiancé(e) or Spouse of US Citizen


Effective August 15, 2011, petitioners residing in Switzerland, 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 and Consulates 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 the U.S. 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:

P.O. Box 804625
Chicago, IL 60680-4107

USCIS Chicago Lockbox address for express mail and courier deliveries:

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 or contact USCIS by telephone in the United States at 1-800-375-5283

USCIS Immigrant Fee

Effective February 1, 2013, all individuals issued immigrant visas overseas must pay a US$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:

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 U.S. 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.

Visas for Same-Sex Spouses (August 5, 2013)

Beginning immediately, consular officers will adjudicate visa applications for same-sex spouses in the same manner as those filed by opposite-sex spouses.  The validity of a marriage for immigration purposes will depend on whether it was legally valid in the place of celebration, not in the place of couple’s domicile.

Same-sex spouses of U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents and their children may apply for immigrant visas after USCIS approves an I-130 petition.  Same-sex spouses and children can also qualify as dependents in employment-based categories and family-preference categories.  Same-sex partners of U.S. citizens may also apply for fiancé (K-1) visas to wed in a U.S. jurisdiction allowing same sex marriage, after USCIS approves an I-129F petition. 

For filing instruction, please visit

Further information is available at

Transportation Foil for Lost/Stolen or Expired Permanent Resident Card

A permanent resident card, commonly known as a green card, is evidence of the applicant's status as a permanent resident with a right to live and work permanently in the United States. It also is evidence of the applicant's registration in accordance with U.S. immigration laws. A green card is also called Form I-551.

If the applicant's card is lost, stolen or expired, please consult the Embassy for a Transportation Foil.