Effective February 1, 2013, all individuals issued immigrant visas overseas must pay a $165.00 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 fee must be paid after the immigrant visa has been issued but before the applicant travels to the United States on the visa.
Immigrant visa applicants attending the Embassy on or after February 1, 2013 will given a letter with instructions on how to submit this payment once they have received the immigrant visa. Further information is available from the USCIS website at www.USCIS.gov/immigrantfee
Applicants issued immigrant visas before February 1, 2013, are not required to pay the new fee, even if they travel to the United States on or after February 1. Only those applicants issued immigrant visas on or after February 1 must pay the new fee.
It is important to note, that if you applied for immigrant visa prior to February 1 but your application was refused under Section 212(g) pending additional information or refused pending receipt of an approved waiver, you will be subject to the fee if the immigrant visa is issued on or after February 1, despite the fact that you may have begun the application prior to this date.
The Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy in Harare processes the visa applications of persons seeking to reside permanently in the United States, including family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, orphans adopted by U.S. citizens, fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens, and alien workers. The Embassy processes immigrant visas for all residents of Zimbabwe.
The Immigrant Visa Process: An Overview
If you would like to live permanently in the
There are four key stages that almost all prospective immigrants must go through to obtain an immigrant visa. While the length of time and procedures may change depending on the visa category, all prospective applicants pass through some version of each of the following stages to obtain an immigrant visa.
- Petition approval
- Preparation for the IV Interview
- The IV Interview
- Returning the Passport and IV Packet
Stage 1: Petitions
In most cases, the immigration process starts with someone filing a petition on your behalf with the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The purpose of the petition is to establish that you fit into one of the classes of individuals permitted to legally immigrate to the
Diversity Visa (DV) applicants do not have to file a petition. Instead, your entry into the Diversity Visa Lottery will serve as your petition.
The person or business that files the petition is called the petitioner, and the person on whose behalf it is filed is called the principal beneficiary. Spouses or children who might be permitted to travel based on the beneficiary's petition are called derivatives.
Petitions must be filed with the
Stage 2: Preparation for the Immigrant Visa Interview
Once USCIS approves your petition, you will be notified that the petition is being sent to the State Department's National Visa Center (NVC) or Kentucky Consular Center (KCC). NVC and KCC will assign the beneficiary a case number starting with DKR or FTN, followed by the year (DKR2007123456). KCC will assign case numbers for Diversity Visa applicants that begin with the year with AF in the middle (2007AF12345).
If your petition is current, meaning that the State Department can process your visa application, NVC or KCC will send you instructions on how to prepare for your interview. If NVC or KCC has notified you that your case file has been sent to the U.S. Embassy in
Not all beneficiaries move immediately from petition filing and approval stage to the preparation stage. Some classifications of immigrants are subject to annual numerical limits. If your classification is numerically limited, you will be giving a priority date based on when your petition was filed and may have to wait anywhere from two to twelve years before the State Department can process immigrant visas with your priority date. The State Department issues a Visa Bulletin every month listing the priority dates being processed. To see the current Visa Bulletin, click here.
Stage 3: The Immigrant Visa Interview
In some cases, NVC and KCC will schedule your interview in
The purpose of your interview with a consular officer is to evaluate your and any of your derivatives' eligibility for an IV. At this time, the consular officer will confirm that all required documents have been presented and that you have a legal basis for immigration. A legal basis can be the required family relationship with the petitioner, the required professional skills, or the educational or work requirements for a diversity visa. You may bring an attorney or family member to your interview, but the consular officer may request that the individual remain seated.
The consular officer must also review your file for any legal ineligibility you may have that would prevent you from receiving a visa. This could include, but is not limited to misrepresenting a material fact either in your current or a previous visa application, criminal convictions, overstaying a previously issued visa, or a medical ineligibility.
At the end of the interview, you will be told whether you have established your eligibility for the IV. If you have not brought a required document such as a police clearance or your medical examination, you will be given a 221g letter with instructions on how to schedule a second interview once you have all of your required documents. If you have not established your eligibility for an IV, your case will be referred to the consular section's eligibility review unit for further evaluation.
Stage 4: Return of Passport and Documents
If you establish your eligibility at the time of your interview, the consular officer will retain your passport and documents. If you would like your original documents returned, you must provide a clear copy of your documents at the time of the interview. The passport then has the visa placed inside it and the documents are placed in a sealed packet. You can pick up your passport and sealed packet any Monday through Thursday after your interview at 3:00 p.m.
When you receive the sealed document packet it must not be opened by anybody. It must remain sealed. If the document packet is opened, you must schedule an appointment to have the packet resealed. You can use the visa and accompanying document packet to travel to a
Visas for Artists and Performers
Public Affairs Section
American Embassy (Harare)
Recent talk by US Embassy Consul on visas for artists and performers.