U.S. Immigrant Visa Requirements

In order to be considered for approval for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate in your country, a U.S. citizen, a potential employer, or a green card holder who is a relative of the applicant generally must sponsor the foreign citizen. The sponsor is called the “petitioner” and the foreign national is the “beneficiary.” The petition is filed to establish that the requisite relationship exists that is recognized under U.S. immigration law. For instance, a U.S. citizen filing a petition for a foreign national spouse must prove that relationship. Only after the petition is approved can an applicant/beneficiary continue their immigrant visa process.

There are some exceptions to this, such as when the foreign national is allowed to self-petition. Certain applicants, such as persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, are allowed to file a petition for themselves. Foreign nationals that can prove that their important work will be in the national interest of the United States can also self-petition.

Foreign nationals of extraordinary ability and those whose work will be in the national interest of the U.S. can either self-petition or have their U.S. employer petition for them. There are pros and cons to each of those options. Important factors need to be considered to determine which filing method is best in an individual case.

When viewing the immigrant visa requirements, consult an experienced immigration law attorney. All persons applying for an immigrant visa must fall under one of the acceptable categories, usually family-based or employment-based. Some applicants may also obtain acceptance through the diversity lottery or asylum or refugee status. In order to qualify for an immigrant visa, the U.S. requires the full visa application process be completed without exception. This normally includes completing the initial forms, submitting documents, completing a medical examination, attending the personal interview, and awaiting approval.