Immigration law delegates the responsibility for issuance or refusal of visas to consular officers overseas. They have the final say on all visa cases.
Who can Influence the Consular Officer to Reverse a Decision?
By regulation the U.S. Department of State has authority to review consular decisions, but this authority is limited to the interpretation of law, as contrasted to determinations of facts. An applicant can influence the post to change a prior visa denial only through the presentation of new convincing evidence of a different determination of facts.
For more information concerning visa denials, waivers, etc., please visit the State Department website.
After the Visa is Approved
- All applicants who have their immigrant visas issued will have their passports with visas delivered via ASC. Applicants may choose to receive their document at home or other designated address or pick-up at the nearest ASC branch. There is no pick-up at the Consulate.
- Applicants who choose to have their document delivery at home or other designated address will be instructed by the scheduling system on how to proceed. The ASC will keep the document for 30 days only. Make sure you collect your document before this time frame expires.
- For any information on the delivery of passports with visas please contact ASC. Please check ASC contacts here.
Notes: In the cases where applicants receive the package with the immigrant visa, they should only open the outer packaging and leave the internal manila (brown) envelope SEALED. If the manila envelope is damaged, applicants will have to return the envelope with the documents to the consulate for it to be checked and sealed again.
Please check all data, including the validity date of your visa.
In order to leave for the United States, the applicant will need to have the manila sealed envelope in his or her hand luggage and to submit it to DHS official in the immigration sector at port of entry who is the only person with authority to open it.
Certain cases that were issued immigrant visas overseas must pay a 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 USCIS website has more details on how to pay the fee using the USCIS system, including contact information for USCIS, if there are further questions. To verify the amount of the USCIS Immigration Fee click here.
At the airport in Brazil, you will need to show your passport with the visa and the sealed envelope (only for applicants who received it) to both the Brazilian authorities and the airline attendant. The CBP Officer will review your documents before admitting you into the United States. This normally requires you to be directed to a separate area. This process can take hours to complete depending on the volume of traffic at the port-of-entry that day. Please plan accordingly when booking or other means of transportation to your final destination.
The dependents of an Immigrant Visa or a K process cannot enter the U.S. before the principal beneficiary has entered. Dependents can accompany the principal beneficiary or enter the U.S. after the principal beneficiary has already entered, but never before the principal beneficiary (dependents of an immigration process include fiancées, spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 that are together in the same petition). In “immediate relative” cases (i.e., spouses of U.S. citizens and children of U.S. citizens who are unmarried and under the age of 21) this rule does not apply as each beneficiary has a separate petition.
Note: If, for any reason, you are unable to use your visa, you are requested to return it to this office. Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to inform us. Failure to return your unused visa may result in an unnecessary delay in the issuance of a visa to some other qualified applicant. Your cooperation in this regard will enable this office to issue a visa to another applicant promptly. Should you, within the near future, desire to reapply for an immigrant visa, every possible consideration will be given to granting you the benefit of your original priority date on the waiting list.
At your first Port-of-Entry in the U.S., the USCIS Officer will place an “admission stamp” into your passport and will retain your visa package (only for cases who received it). The USCIS officer can answer questions about when and how you will receive your green card. Until you receive your green card your admission stamp is your proof of legal residency in the United States and you can immediately live, work and study. USCIS office will mail your physical green card to the address that you provided in the Sworn Statement (form DS 260-I) or to the address you provided when you paid the immigrant visa fee. For K1 visa holders, the USCIS office will inform you where your Green Card will be sent after you get married in the United States and adjust your status.
Note: the “admission stamp” is valid for one year. It is very important that you remember this expiration date. If you travel outside the U.S. before receiving your physical green card, make sure that you return before the expiration date of the stamp. If you must leave the U.S. and know that you will not be able to return before that date – and you have not yet received your green card – you must request an extension from USCIS before leaving the U.S. You must request this in person from USCIS in the United States. You must not leave the U.S. until you have received it. If, for some reason, the stamp does expire while you are abroad you will have to arrange for someone in the United States to mail you your green card so that you can reenter the U.S.
Federal law requires that all men between the ages of 18 and 26 to register with Selective Service System after enter the U.S. as a permanent resident. Failure to register could subject you to prosecution and will affect your eligibility for student loans, job training programs, and naturalization. For further information, and to register online, please see this website: www.sss.gov. Note: For K visa holders this question will be seen by the USCIS office at the moment you adjust your status.
Change of address in the United States: After you enter the U.S. as a permanent resident, federal law requires that you keep DHS informed of your current address. Use Form AR-11 to notify DHS within 10 days of any change of address. For further information, and to download Form AR-11, please see USCIS website: https://www.uscis.gov/forms.
For K-3 and CR-1 visa holders: If, at the time of admission to the United States you will not have celebrated the second anniversary of your marriage, which is the basis of your immigrant status, you are subject to the provisions of section 216 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Under the provision, you will be granted conditional permanent residence by an officer of the Immigration and Naturalization Service at the time of your admission to the United States. As a result, you and your spouse must file a joint petition with the Immigration and Naturalization Service to have the conditional status removed. The petition must be filed within the 90-day period immediately preceding the second anniversary of the date you were granted conditional permanent resident status. If a petition to remove the conditional basis of your status is not filed within this period, your conditional permanent residence status will be terminated automatically and you will be subject to deportation from the United States.
For investors: the conditional residence will be related to the period of investment in the United States.
The maximum validity of an immigrant visa is usually about 180 days from the date of the medical examination. In most cases, this means that the immigrant visa is valid for a week or two less than 180 days. However, the visa may be valid for less time than that, depending on other factors such as: certain medical diagnoses, the validity of your passport, or the birthday of applicants who are about to turn 21. Under all circumstances, the expiration date written on your visa is the maximum amount of time the visa is valid. There are no extensions of immigrant visa validity. If you do not enter the United States before your immigrant visa expires, please contact us by e-mail at email@example.com. We will advise you as to how to proceed based on your situation.
The maximum validity of a K1 fiancée visa is usually about 180 days from the date of the medical examination. All immigrant visa´s rules for the limitation of the visa apply to K visas, as well. The K1 visa allows only one entry into the United States. Upon entry, you will have a ninety-day (90) period to get married. After your marriage you and your spouse must contact the closest USCIS office to adjust your status from fiancé(e) to spouse of an American citizen.
Note for any case under adjustment of status: if you need to travel outside the U.S. during the adjustment period, you must request an especial authorization from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a “Parole”.
As you complete the process of seeking an immigrant visa for your child, please note that your child may benefit from the provisions of the “Child Citizenship Act of 2000”. This law, effective on February 27, 2001, facilitates the acquisition of United States citizenship for the foreign-born children (both biological and adopted) of United States citizen parents when those children do not acquire United States citizenship at birth.
Under this law, children automatically acquire United States citizenship if all of the following conditions have been met: one parent is a U.S. citizen, by birth or through naturalization; the child is under the age of eighteen; and the child is residing in the United States pursuant to a lawful admission as a permanent resident alien in the legal and physical custody of the American citizen parent.
Adopted children must meet the requirements of either Section 101(b)(1)(E) or Section 101(b)(1)(F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Under this law, U.S. citizenship becomes effective on the day the last of the foregoing conditions have met. Thus, U.S. citizenship will not date back to your child’s date of birth.
Although U.S. citizenship is conferred automatically with respect to those who qualify, you nonetheless may want to obtain documentary proof of your child’s status as an U.S. citizen thereby making his/her acquisition of U.S. citizenship a matter of record.
After entry into the United States and your child’s admission for permanent residence is accepted, you may take the completed application to any U.S. passport agency or any clerk of court or post office that is authorized to accept such applications. As proof that your child has complied with the third condition cited above, it is important to present the child’s Brazilian passport containing the Department of Homeland Security/ Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (DHS/USCIS) endorsement made at the time of his/her initial admission into the United States as an immigrant. For further information on the U.S. passport application process, please consult the Department of State’s website at http://www.state.gov
You can also document your child’s citizenship by applying at the USCIS for a certificate of citizenship. Information pertaining to the Certificate of Citizenship can be obtained by logging on to the website: http://www.uscis.gov. Please note, however, that a Certificate of Citizenship is not a travel document and cannot be used I lieu of a U.S. passport for that purpose.
If you need to leave the U.S. while holding a asylee status, you can do it. However, you have to request a travel authorization, form I-131, to DHS before leaving the United States. This request must be done in person and you cannot leave the U.S. before receiving the authorization. The Asylee Travel Document, is usually valid for 1 (one) year.
Note for all kinds of visas:
If after obtaining your green card in the U.S. you decide to travel outside of the country, please be advised that a green card holder is not supposed to stay out of the U.S. for extensive amounts of time. According to the law, the maximum admissible period out of the U.S. is “one year less one day, counting from the day that you left the U.S.” USCIS official generally send to secondary inspection those Green Card holders who spend over six months outside the U.S.A.
If, for any reason, you need to be outside the U.S. for more than one year, you must request a “Reentry Permit” from CIS. The Reentry Permit is a permission to stay outside of the U.S. for a maximum of two years without losing your LPR status. You must request this in person from CIS in the U.S. Once in the United States you must contact the Social Security Agency to get information on your Social Security Card with work authorization.
Lost/stolen and unused visas: If you lose your immigrant visa, please notify the immigrant visa unit at the U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro. Likewise, if you are unable to use your visa within its validity period, please contact us to arrange its return. Keeping a visa that you do not intend to use may create an unnecessary delay for another applicant on the waiting list who intends to immigrate and could use the visa number. If after returning your unused visa you decide to reapply for an immigrant visa, every consideration will be given to your request according to the INA (Immigration and Nationality Act).
According to Section 221(g) “No visa… shall be issued to an alien if (1) it appears to the consular officer… that such alien is ineligible to receive a visa… or (that)… (2) the application fails to comply with the provisions of this Act, or the regulations issued thereunder…”
This Section provides the legal basis for the Consular Officer to request additional information from applicant or to ask applicant to take particular actions to help the officer to determine whether the applicant has met the qualifications for a visa. For example, this Section most often is used to request routine information like a medical report or police clearance certificate. Also, it is used to request information concerning the substantive requirements to the visa category in question, for example, a proof of relationship request. Another frequent usage of this Section is to request proof of relationship.
Proof of relationship is a request for additional information to prove to the consular officer that you have a bona fide relationship with the petitioner. You are free to provide any evidence that you think will assist the officer in confirming that your relationship is genuine.
Section 221(g) does not mean that the visa has been refused permanently. It means that more action is required before a final decision can be made regarding that specific case.
How to send pending documents to the Consulate:
K or immigrant visa applicants who were refused 221(g) under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), must deliver the required pending documents to the Consulate, along with the refusal letter. Deliver the documents at any ASC branch by scheduling an appointment. To schedule an appointment click here, sign into your account and select the link “Consular Section instructed me to send more documents“. Select the applicant’s name, write the justification and submit it. On the day of your appointment go to ASC and deliver the pending documents. ACS will send the documents to the Consulate.
Administrative Processing Information
Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a consular officer. Applicants are advised of this requirement when they apply. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview. When administrative processing is required, the timing will vary based on individual circumstances of each case. Visa applicants are reminded to apply early for their visa, well in advance of the anticipated travel date.
Important Notice: Before making inquiries about status of administrative processing, applicants or their representatives will need to wait at least 60 days from the date of interview or submission of supplemental documents, whichever is later.
Immigration law says that certain conditions and actions prevent a person from entering the United States. These conditions and activities are called ineligibilities, and the applicant is ineligible for (cannot get) a visa. Examples of an ineligibility include overstaying your visa, selling drugs, active tuberculosis, being a terrorist, and using fraud to get a visa. Your period of ineligibility may be temporary or permanent depending on your situation. Please check your ineligibility below to access the document requirements for the waiver.
Important: These procedures must be followed only after the Consular Officer has determined the ineligibility on the day of the Immigrant Visa interview at the U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro, provided no other documents are pending on your visa process.
Ineligible IV applicants, nonimmigrant K, and V visa applicants for whom a waiver is available must file Forms I-601 by mailing them to a USCIS Lockbox. Updated I-601 filing instructions are here: www.uscis.gov/i-601.
IV, K and V applicants will be required to mail their I-601 and any supporting documentation to the USCIS Phoenix Lockbox. Questions regarding lockbox filing can be directed to: Lockboxsupport@dhs.gov.
Where to Submit the Waiver
Beginning June 4 2012, ineligible IV applicants, nonimmigrant K, and V visa applicants for whom a waiver is available must file Forms I-601 by mailing them to a USCIS Lockbox. Updated I-601 filing instructions can be found here: www.uscis.gov/i-601.
IV, K and V applicants will be required to mail their I-601 and any supporting documentation to the USCIS Phoenix Lockbox. Questions regarding lockbox filing can be directed to: Lockboxsupport@dhs.gov.
- If sending by U.S. Postal Service:
P.O. Box 21600
Phoenix, AZ 85036
- If sending by Express mail or Courier:
ATTN: 601/212 Foreign Filers
1820 E. Skyharbor, Circle S, Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034
Immigrant Visa applicants requiring consent to reapply for admission in addition to an I-601 waiver of inadmissibility must file their Form I-212 along with the I-601 with the Lockbox. However, Immigrant Visa applicants should NOT file stand-alone I-212s with the USCIS Lockbox. Such individuals should file stand-alone I-212s according to the form instructions available at: www.uscis.gov/i-212.
Exceptions to Lockbox Filing
Specific guidance regarding the extremely rare exceptions to domestic filing can be found on the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov/i601centralizationexceptions. Consideration to time sensitive, compelling, and exceptional circumstances will be given.
Upon receipt of an I-601 at the USCIS Lockbox, the Lockbox facility will send a receipt notification to the applicant and forward the case to NSC (Nebraska Service Center) for adjudication. During adjudication, applicants will be able to view their case status online by searching the USCIS receipt number in the “Case Status” field on the USCIS homepage (www.uscis.gov). USCIS receipt numbers are listed on the receipt notification. Applicants can also call the USCIS National Customer Service Center to request the status of their case. Contact information for USCIS is available at www.uscis.gov/contactcenter.
The NSC will notify the applicant and the applicant’s attorney of record, if applicable, in writing of the decision on the I-601 and I-212, if applicable. The NSC will issue notification of approval decisions using Form I-797, Notice of Action.
If you have more them one ineligibility (using two forms: I-601 and form I-212) you will need to pay one fee for each form. The fees will not be reimbursable in case the waiver(s) is(are) refused. Fees must be paid directly to the USCIS.
Most foreign banks that have U.S. underwriters can provide international bank drafts in U.S. dollars. Alternatively, the petitioner can send the waiver to a relative in the U.S. who can write a personal check or purchase a postal or bank money order for them.
IV Most Common Ineligibilities
You can access the required list of documents by clicking on your specific ineligibility below:
- Section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) – Have committed misrepresentation in order to obtain a visa to enter the United States. (Considered inadmissible permanently)
- Section 212(a)(9)(B)(i)(I) – Were unlawfully present in the United States for over 181 days but less than one year, after April 1st, 1997. (Considered inadmissible for a period of three years after a voluntary departure from the United States).
- Section 212(a)(9)(B)(i)(II) – Were unlawfully present in the United States for 365 days or more, after April 1st, 1997. (Considered inadmissible for a period of ten years after subsequent departure from the United States).
- Section 212(a)(9)(A)(i) – Have previously been deported/ordered removed from the United States at the port of entry. (Considered inadmissible for a period of five years after the removal or deportation from the United States).
- Section 212(a)(9)(A)(ii) – Have been deported from the United States or departure the US during the deportation process. (Considered inadmissible for a period of ten years after the departure or deportation from the United States).
- Section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) – Have committed a crime of moral turpitude. (Considered inadmissible permanently)
- Section 212(a)(1)(A)(ii) – Have failed to submit proof of vaccination. (Considered inadmissible according to statutory vaccination requirement).
- Section 212(e) – Have participated in an Exchange Visitor Program and your program falls under certain conditions, subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement before applying for an immigrant visa. (Considered inadmissible for a period of two years after the departure from the United States).
Any document that is in Portuguese or in any other language rather than English must be accompanied by an English translation. The translation must include a statement signed by the translator that states that the: translation is accurate, and the translator is competent to translate. If the documents do not comply with this translation’s requirement, the application for a waiver may be rejected, as documents in Portuguese or any other languages will not to be considered during the waiver review process.