Frequently asked questions about immigrant visa applications and the interview process.
Which is quicker to process, an immigrant or a fiancé(e) visa?
The time it takes to process a visa application various with each individual case. However, in general, a fiancé(e) visa application may be slightly quicker than an application for an immigrant visa, as immigrant visa petitions are taking longer to be processed and approved by the USCIS in the United States. If the time factor is of importance, you should contact the USCIS where you will file the petition to ascertain processing times before deciding on applying for a fiancé(e) or immigrant visa.
Why do you require police certificates for an immigrant visa application? I have not been in trouble with the law.
The term police certificate means a statement which will advise the consular officer whether or not any criminal convictions are held in your name.
Where can I find information about obtaining police certificates?
The information is on the Department of State’s website. Find the country and look under ”Police Record”. If it is your place of birth, or current residence you will require a police certificate if you have resided there for at least six months since your sixteenth birthday. The period of residence is twelve months, for any other country.
How long is a police certificate valid for?
With the exception of the German police certificate which is considered valid for 12 months from the date of issuance, a police certificate is valid indefinitely, provided you do not return to the country even on a visit, if it’s your country of birth or current residence. The period is twelve months for any other country.
I reside outside of Germany; how do I obtain a German police certificate?
If you reside outside Germany you should contact the Bundeszentralregister.
If I obtain the police certificate, am I still required to obtain court records?
Yes. If you have a conviction, you will be required to obtain the court record relating to all of the charges against you.
How do I obtain my court records for Germany?
Court records are obtained from the court(s) at which the individual was tried. Such court records must show the nature of the offense(s) committed, the section(s) of law contravened and the actual penalty imposed.
Do I require court records for the United States?
If you have a conviction in the United States you will be required to obtain court records relating to all of the charges against you. You should contact the court where you were convicted. If you do not know the address of the court, the information is available from the internet at: www.refdesk.com. If you are unable to obtain the court record, the Embassy will obtain them on your behalf.
I have a conviction from a country other than Germany or the United States. How do I obtain the court record?
Contact the Embassy of the country in question; they will advise you further.
How long can I expect to be at the Consulate when I come for my immigrant visa interview?
Appointments are scheduled between 7.30 am and 12.30 pm. You should allow approximately three hours for the visa interview.
Will I get my immigrant visa on the day of the interview?
Visa processing takes about 10 workdays if all required documents are presented. The visa will be returned to you by German registered mail. On the day of the visa interview you will be required to purchase postage stamps for an envelope for the return of your documents once visa processing has been completed.
What if my immigrant visa is refused?
If your visa is refused under the provisions of Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act for lack of documentation, you will have twelve months from the date of refusal in which to present the missing documents and enter the United States on the immigrant visa.
What if I do not present the documentation to overcome the immigrant visa refusal and enter the United States within the twelve months?
You will be required to reapply for an immigrant visa paying new visa application and issuance fees, and medical examination fees.
How long will I have to travel to the U.S. once the immigrant visa is issued?
Immigrant and fiancé visas are normally valid for travel to the United States for six months from the date on which they are issued. K visa holders are issued a visa valid for travel for two years and for V visa holders the validity period is ten years. Please refer to the individual sections for further information.
What if I cannot travel during the validity period of the immigrant visa?
You should return the unused visa to the Immigrant Visa Section with a letter explaining why you were unable to travel. Depending on the reasons for you not using the visa, it may be possible to re-issue you with a new visa on payment of new visa processing fees.
I sent in my completed forms to the Immigrant Visa Unit, when will I be scheduled an appointment for my interview?
Applicants registered in the immediate relative category will be contacted within 4 to 8 weeks of the Immigrant Visa Section completing action on their application with a date for the formal visa interview. Those registered for immigration in the family based or employment based preference categories are subject to the annual numerical limitation on immigrants admitted into the United States. In such cases, the appointment for the formal visa interview is generally scheduled once a visa number becoming available for the applicant’s use. Check the Visa Bulletin for the latest priority dates.
The National Visa Center (NVC) informed me that my file had been sent to the Consulate in Frankfurt. When can I expect to be scheduled for a visa interview?
There is a delay of at least 12 weeks between the date the file is dispatched by NVC and the date the Immigrant Visa Section receives the file and completes action on the case. The Immigrant Visa Section will be in contact with the applicant once they are able to schedule the visa interview.