Frequently Asked Questions on Immigrant Visas

Urgent information for visa applicants regarding novel coronavirus: 

The Immigrant Visa Unit in the U.S. Consulate General is performing mission-critical operations. We are making every effort to schedule your case as soon as possible.  Please do not contact the Immigrant Visa Unit to inquire about scheduling your interview.  The staff will contact you directly.

If you have been advised that your case file has been forwarded to the U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro, please refer to our website for an overview of the application procedure and begin compiling the necessary supporting documents. You can collect the supporting documents that will be needed for your visa interview, but you may not schedule a medical appointment or immigrant visa interview without specific authorization from the Immigrant Visa Unit.  Please monitor our website for updates.

If you have an urgent matter and need to travel immediately, please follow the guidance provided at https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-br/iv, or enter in contact via email brazil_contactus+br+info+en@visaops.net, or by phone (https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-br/iv/information/contact_us) to request an emergency appointment.

Information about the travel restrictions 

For information about travel restrictions related to the current Presidential Proclamations, see Expiration of Presidential Proclamation 10052Recision of Presidential Proclamation 10014, and Updates to National Interest Exceptions.

Can I continue with the immigrant visa application process?

If your immigrant visa case is being processed by the National Visa Center (NVC), please visit your Consular Electronic Application Center account (if applicable) for information. Please contact NVC directly using its online contact form if you still have questions. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Brazil cannot answer any questions about cases still being processed by the NVC.

The Immigrant Visa Unit in the U.S. Consulate General is performing limited mission-critical operations. We are making every effort to schedule your immigrant visa case as soon as possible. Please do not contact the Immigrant Visa Unit to inquire about scheduling your interview. The staff will contact you directly.

If you have been advised that your case file has been forwarded to the U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro, please refer to our website for an overview of the application procedure and begin compiling the necessary supporting documents.  You can collect the supporting documents that will be needed for your visa interview, but you may not schedule a medical appointment or immigrant visa interview without specific authorization from the Immigrant Visa Unit.  Please monitor our website for updates.

My immigrant visa petition has been filed but not yet approved. What is the status of my petition? Can an immigrant visa petition be filed for me now?

Immigrant visa petitions are typically filed with, and approved by, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States, not with Embassies or Consulates abroad.  If you filed your petition with USCIS please visit the USCIS website for information on the status of your petition.

Can my immigrant visa be extended or reissued? 

Immigrant visas cannot be extended.  However, if you are unable to travel within the validity period of your visa due to circumstances beyond your control, you can request visa reissuance.

If your immigrant visa has expired and you wish to move to the United States urgently, please send a message to immigrationrio@state.gov to check whether it is possible for your visa to be reissued on an emergency basis.  Please include the full name(s) of the visa applicant(s) and the petitioner, plus the case number (typically RDJ followed by ten digits) in your message.

I’m a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) currently outside the United States.  What should I do? 

As you may be aware, if a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) remains outside the United States for more than 12 months (or beyond the validity period of a Reentry Permit obtained prior to departing the United States), the person may lose entitlement to LPR status.  Information about travel and maintaining permanent resident status is provided on the USCIS website.

If you are not in possession of your Permanent Resident Card and wish to travel to the United States, you may apply for a transportation boarding foil to facilitate your return to the U.S.  Please see our website for information about how to apply for a transportation boarding foil.

What should I do if I have an emergency? 

Any immigrant visa applicant who has an emergency situation that requires immediate travel to the United States may seek an emergency appointment through the automated YATRI system.  If you are unable to request an emergency appointment in YATRI, please email  immigrationrio@state.gov to check whether it is possible to proceed with your visa application on an emergency basis.  Please include the full name(s) of the visa applicant(s) and the petitioner, and the case number (typically RDJ followed by ten digits) in your message. Use of the YATRI system ensures more prompt scheduling than via email.

Specific Information for Fiancé(e) Visa (K-1) Applicants and Fiancé(e) Visa Holders

My fiancé(e) visa petition has been filed but not yet approved.  What is the status of my fiancé(e) visa petition?  Can a fiancé(e) visa petition be filed for me now?

Fiancé(e) visa petitions are filed with, and approved by, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States, not with Embassies or Consulates abroad.   Please visit the USCIS website for information on the status of your petition.

My fiancé(e) visa petition has been approved.  Can I continue with the application process now?

If you were contacted with your case number and application instructions before March 20, 2020, please use this time to collect the supporting documents required for your visa interview.  Please note that you may not make an appointment for a medical examination or for a fiancé(e) visa interview without specific authorization from the Immigrant Visa Unit.

If your petition has been approved but you have not yet received your case number and application instructions, you will be contacted with that information when it is possible for you to begin to the visa application process. You may not make an appointment for a medical examination or for a fiancé(e) visa interview without specific authorization from the Immigrant Visa Unit.

What happens if my I-129F petition expires?

If the I-129F petition expires before your visa appointment, you may request to have your petition revalidated by presenting a letter from the petitioner stating that you both remain legally free to marry and that you will do so within 90 days of your arrival in the United States. Please bring the letter to your visa interview; do not mail it or email it to the U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro.

Can my K-1 visa be extended or reissued? 

Fiancé(e) visas cannot be extended.  However, if you are unable to travel before the visa expiration date printed on your visa, you may be able to request visa reissuance.

What should I do if I have an emergency? 

Any fiancé(e) visa applicant who has an emergency situation that requires immediate travel to the United States may seek an emergency appointment through the automated YATRI system.  If you are unable to request an emergency appointment in YATRI, please email immigrationrio@state.gov to check whether it is possible to proceed with your fiancé(e) visa application on an emergency basis.  Please include the full name(s) of the visa applicant(s) and the petitioner, and the case number (typically RDJ followed by ten digits) in your message.  Use of the YATRI system ensures more prompt scheduling than via email.

What do I need to complete and submit forms online?

You must have:

  • Internet access
  • Your NVC Case Number (refer to the message you received from NVC)
  • Your Invoice I.D. number (refer to the message you received from NVC)
  • In case you had your petition filed through a United States Embassy or Consulate you should use your birth date instead of the invoice ID on YYYY/MM/DD format.

Where can I find the DS-260?

You can access the DS-260 from the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website.

Can I answer in my native language?

No. All answers, except as specially provided, must be in English, using English characters only. Applications submitted in any language other than English may be rejected, and you will be required to log back into the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) and provide English answers.

Are all fields on the DS-260 mandatory?

Most fields on the DS-260 are mandatory. You may leave fields marked “Optional” blank. Some fields may also give you the option to select “Does Not Apply.” If a field does not apply to you, you may mark the box next to “Does Not Apply.” All other fields must be completed: the application will not allow you to submit a form with any mandatory fields left blank. In this instance, an error message will be displayed and you will be required to complete the field before continuing with the application. If you do not answer questions that apply, your form may be rejected.

What happens if I need to step away in the middle of data entry?

You may save your partially completed DS-260 at any time by clicking on the “Save” button at the bottom of every page. If you need to step away, simply click the “Save” button to save your progress, and click on “Sign Out” in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. All data that you entered up to the point of clicking on “Save” will be stored until you are ready to continue completing the form.

To ensure your privacy if you step away in the middle of data entry, the DS-260 has a “time out” feature. If your DS-260 application is idle for approximately 20 minutes, CEAC will log you off. All data that you entered up to the last time you clicked “Save” will be stored until you are ready to continue completing the form. Any data that you entered after clicking “Save” will be lost.

How do I access a previously saved DS-260?

You can access your saved application by returning to the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website and selecting View/Edit from the IV and Alien Registration section of the Immigrant Visa – Summary Information screen. You will then be provided with a list of all applicants in your case along with the status of each application (NOT STARTED, INCOMPLETE, or SUBMITTED). To continue updating an incomplete application, simply click on the “Edit” button to the right of the application’s status.

Once you submit your application, by clicking the “Sign and Submit Application” button on the “Sign and Submit” page, you will be unable to access your application again without the assistance of NVC, or the U.S. embassy or consulate at which you plan to apply.

Do I bring my DS-260 application with me to the interview?

You should not bring your application with you to your interview. The interviewing officer will have full access to review your application online.

All my documents were delivered and verified on NVC. Do I still need to submit additional documents at the time of interview?

Verification of documents taken by NVC is basic. When your case reaches the consulate, all documentation is reviewed. If any document is missing or expired, the visa applicant will have to bring it on the day of the interview, with original and copy. We will typically send an email message informing the applicant if any additional documentation is required.

Note: Remember that the Consular Officer may request other documents during the process of immigrant visa if he deems it necessary.

Must all visa applicants undergo a medical exam?

All visa applicants, regardless of age, must undergo a medical examination. This examination must be performed by a doctor identified by the United States Consulate. The visa applicant must bring the exam on the day of interview. In some cases the examination will be sent by the doctor directly to the consulate. Learn more.

Note: Remember that the envelope with examination results shall not be opened under any circumstances. This envelope can only be opened by the consular officer responsible for collecting documentation on the day of interview.

What police certificates must be submitted by visa applicants?

All applicants older than 18 must present both a Federal Police Certificate and a State Police certificate from all states they have lived for more than 6 months in the last 5 years. The U.S. government requires a certificate issued by the secretary of public security of the state. Certificates issued by the Judiciary Power or from the registry are not accepted in any way.

Notes:

Residents of the Federal District do not have to provide a state police certificate (unless they live for a period of six months or more in another state). Those who reside in the Federal District need only submit a certificate of Federal and other police states that there remained within the period required certificate.

The Consulate accepts all certificates for a period of one (1) year from date of issuance.

If the applicant has lived abroad, please click here for a list of police certificates accepted by country of issuance.

What happens if some documents are missing while my case is pending?

If you do not provide all necessary documents by the time of your interview, this could cause a delay in the issuance of your immigrant visa. Verify that all data in the documents, such as birthplace, name(s), date, are spelled correctly. Any discrepancy will result in the need for corrected documents so that all contain identical information.

Note: After the interview, the visa applicant will have one year to provide all outstanding documents. If this period expires, the application will be terminated. In the case of diversity visas, this period ends at the end of the U.S. Fiscal Year (September 30th).

How can I send documents to the U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro?

If the Immigrant Visa Section asked you to send documents to the Consulate you must 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.

Note: Some applicants, in some specific cases will receive the instruction to upload the pending documents via the CEAC webpage. Just do it if you were specifically instructed to do that.

What happens after approval of the immigrant visa?

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 it 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 envelope in his or her hand luggage and to submit it to DHS official in the immigration sector at port of entry.

If I have an approved visa and my dependent family members are part of the same case, can my family members go to the United States before me?

In cases containing dependents, the principal applicant will have to go to the United States before or at the same time as any other dependents

I would like to cancel the petition. How should I proceed?

In order to cancel a petition, the petitioner must provide a written cancellation request. The written request must be in English and signed.  Request should be sent by mail or left in the consulate’s collection box.

I am a legal permanent resident and do not intend to live in the United States, but would like to be able to visit some relatives and friends in the U.S. What should I do?

If you are a lawful permanent resident and wish to renounce your Lawful Permanent Resident status, please read the instructions here.

I am a legal permanent resident and a visit to Brazil ended up lasting for over a year. What should I do to return to the United States as a legal resident?

Legal residents (green card holders) are not allowed to remain outside of U.S. territory for a period exceeding one year. If this occurs, the individual will lose the right to remain a legal permanent resident. Persons wishing to remain outside the United States for a period not exceeding two years should apply for a “Reentry Permit” prior to leaving the United States. This document may only be requested from DHS in the United States. For more information, visit the website: www.uscis.gov.

Notes:  Green card holders who are outside the U.S. for more than one year and who wish to return to live in the United States can apply for a visa (Returning Resident Visa). This visa may be approved or denied based to the reasons for which the green card holder provides to justify his or her absence the U.S. beyond the time allowed by law. Please visit our Schedule of Fees page for the fee you will have to pay at the consulate’s cashier on the day of your interview. This fee is non-refundable, even if your application is denied. More information on returning resident visas is available here.

Click here to access the Guide.