Family Based Visas
Filing a Petition
The immigrant visa process begins when an American citizen or Legal Permanent Resident files a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security. American citizens may file petitions for their fiancé(e), children, spouses, parents, and siblings. Legal Permanent Residents may file petitions for their unmarried children and spouses.
For additional information regarding the petition process, please follow the USCIS links below.
- How Do I Bring My Child, Son or Daughter to Live in the United States?
- How Do I Bring My Spouse (Husband or Wife) to Live in the United States?
- How Do I Bring My Fiancé(e) to the United States?
- How Do I Bring My Parents to Live in the United States?
- How Do I Bring a Sibling to Live in the United States?
Once the Petition is Approved
Approved petitions are forwarded to the Department of State's National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, by USCIS. The petition undergoes additional processing at NVC, including payment of the fees, completion of the affidavit of support, and collection of most documents.
Once NVC has received all of the required documents and fees from the petitioner and the priority date has become current, the file is forwarded to the U.S. Interests Section. The applicant or petitioner can check the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin to determine if the petition is current.
If the petition is current (the priority date is earlier than the cutoff date in the bulletin), the applicant should begin gathering the documents listed below, which are required for the consular interview.
Applicants that are not documentarily ready will not be issued an immigrant visa. All documents presented must be original. Each applicant must present the following documents: (Documents marked with a * must be brought by the applicant to the interview. All other documents will be provided to NVC before the interview.)
- Valid passport and photocopy of pages where issuance and expiration dates as well as the passport number appear.*
- Form DS-230 (PDF 291 KB), Part I and Part II
Please note that K visas will also need to bring forms DS-156, DS-157 (PDF 28 KB), and DS-156K (PDF 29 KB) at the time of their interview.
- Photos, (2) color photos on white background of the beneficiary facing the camera and measuring 50 mm x 50 mm taken within the last six months.
- Birth certificate.
- Current marriage certificate, if married, and divorce and/or death certificates showing the end of all prior marriages. For F4 and IR5 cases, the petitioner’s birth certificate.
- Criminal Records from Cuba, and also from any other country where the beneficiary has lived for more than one year since age 16.*
- Medical examination.* Beneficiaries need to check the list of hospitals where they can have their medical examination. On the day of their medical appointment, they should bring this list along with the letter from the National Visa Center indicating their case number.
- Affidavit of Support, form I-864 must be completed by the petitioner and sent to the National Visa Center.
- Please note that K visas do not require form I-864, but should bring proof of the petitioner’s economic solvency, which may include the I-134 Affidavit of Support.
- Relationship evidence in K-1, K-3, IR-1, CR-1, and F2A spouse cases. This may include photos taken of the family during the marriage, letters, phone records, joint bills, or any other evidence that demonstrates that the relationship is bona fide.
- IV processing fee. If the petitioner did not pay the IV processing fee at the National Visa Center, the applicant will need to pay the corresponding fee at the time of the consular interview. Note that NVC generally will not schedule a visa interview until this fee is paid.
Please refer to the fee chart for K-visa processing. K applicants need to pay this fee at the time of their interview at the U.S. Interests Section.
The National Visa Center schedules immigrant visa interview appointments for USINT Havana. The petitioner will receive a letter with the date of the beneficiary's interview appointment. In K1 fiancé cases and certain immigrant visa cases that are scheduled at post, applicants will receive instructions regarding scheduling their appointment.
The Visa Interview
On the day of their interview, applicants should arrive at the park located near the U.S. Interests Section at Calzada and K streets at 7:00 a.m. with the original documentation listed above. Only the applicant will be admitted to the U.S. Interests Section, except when the applicant is a minor or is disabled and requires assistance; also, in some IR1 and K1 cases, the petitioner will also be admitted.
Once all of the paperwork has been collected and any remaining fees have been paid, the applicant will be interviewed by a Consular Officer. If there is documentation missing, the Consular Officer will provide a letter explaining what is missing. This letter serves as the applicant’s pass to return to the U.S. Interests Section to present the missing information. If a case is missing documentation the applicant has a maximum of one year to return with the requested documentation. After one year, the case automatically closes. Note: Diversity visa cases close automatically on Sept. 30, or when no more visas are available.
Some cases are subject to additional administrative processing. If so, the officer will indicate this on the letter. This additional administrative processing can take several weeks or up to a year or more to complete. It is impossible to determine how long a particular case will take to bring to conclusion. In these cases, the applicant will be contacted by telephone or telegram to continue the visa process once the administrative processing is complete.
If the applicant is ineligible for the visa category, the Consular Officer will give the applicant a written explanation of the section of the law under which the visa is being refused, and the next steps – if any – in connection with the case.
If the application is approved, the applicant will receive a pass to return to pick up the visa in one week.
Immigrant visas are valid for a maximum of six (6) months from the date of issuance, and in many cases this period may be shorter. Immigrant visas cannot be renewed. Under limited circumstances, it is sometimes possible to replace an immigrant visa when the applicant’s failure to travel was beyond their control. Waiting for a family member to receive a visa or parole is not considered beyond an applicant’s control.
Requesting Parole for Other Family Members
Immigrant visa applicants who are over 21 years of age may request parole for certain Cuban family members (please note that certain categories of visas, such as IR2 or returning residents, are not eligible to request parole regardless of age). On the morning of the interview, the applicant should advise the document checker that he or she would like to request parole for a family member(s) not included in the petition. Prior to the interview, the applicant will need to complete a parole request sheet. Following the interview, the applicant will have no further opportunity to request parole. Final decisions regarding parole requests are made by an USCIS official. Applicants are given the outcome of their parole requests six to eight weeks after receiving the visa.
|Type of Visa||Fee|
|Fiancé Visas (K)||$240|
Attorneys and Family Members
The U.S. Interests Section (USINT) appreciates the contributions that attorneys and family members may make to the expeditious processing of immigrant visa applications, especially in ensuring that all required documentation is in order and properly prepared prior to the interview. However, USINT does not permit attorneys or family members, with the exception of those assisting minors and the physically disabled or petitioners in IR1, CR1, and K1 cases, to accompany immigrant visa applicants to their interviews or to participate in the interviews.
For additional, prerecorded information regarding immigrant visa processing, please contact the Information Unit at (53)(7) 839-4101. For issues not answered by the telephone information, you may send an email to email@example.com.
NEW! Consular information
Effective February 1, 2013, USCIS will require immigrant visa recipients to pay an additional fee of $165 USD. The fee covers the costs to process, produce and issue documents, such as your Green Card.
Immigrant visa recipients must pay the fee prior to traveling to the United States. Payments are made online at www.USCIS.gov/ImmigrantFee. Payments cannot be made at the U.S. Interests Section. Payments can be made with either a credit or debit card or via transfer from a U.S. bank account. Anyone can pay the USCIS immigrant fee on behalf of the visa recipient. The Alien Number and Case ID are necessary to make the online payment.
For more information, please visit http://www.uscis.gov/.
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