People traveling to the United States for the purpose of establishing citizenship or permanent residency must obtain an "immigrant visa." People traveling to the United States for purposes such as tourism, temporary work, or other limited reasons must obtain a "non-immigrant visa."
If you need assistance with immigration issues, please contact an expert in one of my District Offices. We will probably ask you to fill out an Immigration Casework Data Sheet/Privacy Release Form, so please review that page before you call. See below for additional general information and frequently asked questions.
You can initiate a citizenship application by contacting the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) online at www.uscis.gov or by calling its National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833). USCIS also offers support for applications already in progress through INFOPASS, its customer help desk. INFOPASS appointments can be made with your local USCIS office online at http://infopass.uscis.gov/.
Foreign citizens wishing to immigrate and live permanently in the U.S. must comply with U.S. visa immigration law, and specific procedures to apply for an "immigrant visa." For information on who may immigrate to the U.S., review Visa Types for Immigrants.
In general, to apply for an immigrant visa, a foreign citizen must be sponsored by a U.S. citizen relative(s), U.S. lawful permanent resident, or by a prospective employer, and be the beneficiary of an approved petition. Therefore, a first step is filing a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). For information on this step, visit the USCIS website.
An Affidavit of Support form is required for most family-based and some employment based immigrants to show there is adequate means of financial support in the U.S., by the petitioner or other sponsor(s) for the immigrant. Click on the links below for more information on forms to use, “how to” instructions for Affidavits of Support, genetic (DNA) testing and more. Based on law, not everyone will receive a visa to come to the U.S.
- Affidavit of Support Information
- Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration
- National Visa Center - Frequently Asked Questions
- Poverty Guidelines
- Visa Bulletin
- Vaccinations Required
- Countries with Limited or No Visa Services
- DNA Testing
- Ineligibilities and Waivers
- Photograph Requirements for Immigrants
- Returning Resident Visas and International Travel for Permanent Residents
- Information on Website Fraud Warning
- Safety and Security of U.S. Borders: Biometrics
Immigrant visa applications are processed chronologically according to the priority date, and the Department of State publishes a monthly Visa Bulletin that lists the date for which applications in each visa category are being adjudicated. If your priority date is within current dates for adjudication, my office can make a status inquiry. Similarly, if your adjustment of status or citizenship application has been pending past normal processing times, my office can also inquire on your behalf.
Nonimmigrant visas are for international travelers (citizens of other countries), coming to the U.S. temporarily. The visa, placed in your passport when issued, allows you to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry (airport, for example) and request permission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection immigration officer to enter the U.S. A visa does not guarantee entry into the U.S.
International travelers come to the U.S. for a wide variety of reasons, including tourism, business, medical treatment, humanitarian concerns and certain types of temporary work. The type of visa needed is defined by immigration law, and relates to the principal purpose of your travel. For an overview of the types of nonimmigrant visas available under immigration law, please see the State Department Visa Types for Temporary Visitors webpage. The Consular Officer at the U.S. embassy or consulate will decide what kind of visa you need, when you apply.
Advance planning can smooth the visa application process for you. Apply for your visa well in advance of your travel! Important steps to remember:
- Review your visa status, and find out if you need a U.S. visa or a renewal.
- Review the Visa Wait Times information for interview appointments and visa processing at each embassy and consular section worldwide available on our website. Visit the embassy or consular section website where you will apply for your visa to find out how to schedule an interview appointment, pay fees and any other instructions.
- Plan on an interview, as well as quick inkless fingerprint scans at the U.S. embassy or consulate, which is required for most visa applicants. Some visa applications require additional administrative processing, which requires some additional time. Applicants are advised when they apply.
- Most visitor visas are denied because of a lack of adequate evidence establishing strong ties to their home country. In order to help us assist you with the non-immigrant visa process, please download and fill out the form below and call one of my District offices to speak with a member of my staff.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I get answers to basic questions about immigration applications?
Customs and Immigration Services provides on its website answers to
questions about who is eligible to file, where to file, what to file,
and how to file at http://www.uscis.gov. Additionally, you can download immigration forms and find information about filing fees here.
What if I have not heard from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services after submitting my application months ago?
you have already submitted a citizenship application (N400) to USCIS,
and you have not heard from USCIS, you can contact my office to find out
the status of your application. The citizenship application process may
take from 8 to 14 months. Additional delays may occur due to the
lengthy processing time required for the completion of fingerprint
I applied for months ago. My check for the application fee has been cashed already but I still have not received a response.
- USCIS provides processing dates for applications based on the date your application was filed. Check your case status.
Residency cards may be renewed by filing form I-90. Approval of these
applications is a lengthy process, so it is important to submit an
application at least 6 months before the current card expires. This
application is available here.