Employment Based Immigrant Visas

Every fiscal year (Oct. 1st – Sept. 30th), approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are made available to qualified applicants. Employment-based immigrant visas are divided into five preference categories. In most cases, spouses and children may accompany or follow-to-join employment-based immigrants.

For more information, please visit the State Department website or the USCIS website.

1. How to Start

For some employment-based categories, the applicant’s prospective employer or agent must first obtain labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. Once this is received, the employer then files an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

NOTE: Applicants in the Employment First Preference category file their own petitions.

For an overview of the process, please visit the State Department website.

2. Immigrant Visa Interview

After the National Visa Center (NVC) schedules your visa interview appointment, they will send you and your agent/attorney (if applicable) an email with the appointment date and time.

All immigrant visa interviews are held at the U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro, regardless of where the applicant lives in Brazil.

After you receive your visa interview date, you must schedule an appointment at our Applicant Service Center (ASC) for a digital photo and fingerprints.  You will also select an option for return of your passport after processing.

Don’t forget to register all dependents applying with you on the ASC website.

Important: You will not be interviewed at the Consulate if you do not first complete the ASC registration and biometrics collection.

You must bring originals of all documents you submitted to NVC to the visa interview. You must also bring any documents NVC informed you were missing.  If your police certificates are expired, for example, you will need to obtain new ones before the interview. More information on required documents is available here.

Translations: If your documents are in Portuguese or English, there is NO need to translate them. If they are in another language, you must provide English translations.  The translated document must contain a statement signed by the translator stating that the translation is accurate, and the translator is competent to translate.

DS-260 Application Form– Print your confirmation page with the barcode. Each family member must complete a separate DS-260.

Passport – Your passport should have at least eight months’ validity remaining.  Note that children need their own passports. Please bring a photocopy of the passport bio page. Note: Please bring any previous passports with U.S. visas or entry stamps to your interview.

Medical Exam – All immigrant visa applicants, regardless of age, must have a medical exam completed by a Panel Physician in Brazil before the visa interview.  Please go to the medical examination page for further instructions.

Birth Certificates – Original, or certified copy, of the birth record of each visa applicant. If you or any of your children were adopted, you must also submit a certified copy of the final adoption decree.

Marriage Certificates –Married applicants must obtain an original marriage certificate (civil marriage), or a certified copy, bearing the appropriate seal or stamp of the issuing authority. For immigration purposes, a Stable Union (Contrato de União Estável) is equivalent to marriage. A Stable Union provides immigration benefits to the partner, provided that neither party is already legally married to someone else.

Prior Marriages – Applicants who have been previously married must submit an original divorce decree, original death certificate for the spouse, or an original annulment order.

Military Records – If you served in the military of any country, you must present a copy of your military record.

Police Certificates

Applicants 18 years old or older and resident in Brazil:  You must present a Brazilian Federal police certificate and Brazilian state police certificates (see below).  If you have lived outside of Brazil for more than 12 months after age 16, you must present a police certificate from the country where you lived.  Information on how to obtain foreign police certificates is available here.

Applicants 16-18 years old and resident in Brazil:  You do not need to present Brazilian police certificates, however if you have lived outside Brazil for more than 12 months after age 16, you must present a police certificate from the country where you lived.  Information on how to obtain foreign police certificates is available here.

Non-Brazilian citizens/dual nationals over 16 years old:  You must present a police certificate from your country/countries of citizenship regardless of how long you have lived there.  Information on how to obtain foreign police certificates is available here.

If you have been arrested for any reason, you must present a police certificate from the jurisdiction of the arrest, regardless of age or residency.

Important: You do not need to present police certificates from the United States.  Police certificates expire after two years, unless the certificate was issued from your country of previous residence, and you have not returned there since the certificate was issued.

Police Certificates in Brazil – In Brazil, police certificates are issued only for applicants over the age of 18. Each applicant over 18 must present two police certificates: a State Police (Secretaria de Segurança Pública) certificate and a Federal Police (Polícia Federal) certificate.

List of Public Security Secretariats – Applicants who live in Brazil must obtain a police certificate from each state in Brazil where they have lived for six months or longer in the last five years. If you have lived in more than one state in Brazil during the last five years, you will need a police certificate from each state. State police certificates issued online are accepted. The certificates issued by “Cartório”, “Fórum” or “Poder Judiciário” are NOT acceptable.

Polícia Federal – Applicants who live in Brazil or are citizens of Brazil must obtain a certificate from the Federal Police. All Brazilian citizens, even those living abroad, need to present a certificate from the Federal Police. Federal police certificates issued online are accepted. The certificates issued by a “Cartório” or “Fórum” are NOT acceptable. For additional information go here.

Court and Prison Documents – If you have been charged with a crime, you must obtain a certified copy of the full court record and any prison record, even if you were later acquitted or benefited from an amnesty, pardon, or other act of clemency.

Photos One (1) photo 5×5 cm or 5×7 cm is required of all applicants regardless of age.

Job Offer – If applicable


U.S. Consulate General Rio de Janeiro
Av. Presidente Wilson, 147 Castelo
Rio de Janeiro, RJ — 20030-020
Entrance at Rua Santa Luzia

All applicants (including children) must be physically present on the day of the interview. Applicants under the age of 14, or those physically incapable of providing a signature, should appear for the immigrant visa interview with a parent or legal guardian. All applicants who are not fluent in Portuguese or English should bring an official interpreter.

We cannot guarantee approval of a visa in advance of your interview. Do not make any final travel arrangements, sell properties, or quit jobs before you have your visa in hand.

Children immigrating with you: In most cases, your children must be unmarried and under the age of 21 at the time they enter the United States to immigrate with you. If any of your children will turn 21 within 90 days of your visa appointment, please notify the Immigrant Visa Unit immediately by emailing immigrationrio@state.gov.  Additional information: Child Status Protection Act (CSPA)

Important Notice: For security reasons, visa applicants and U.S. citizens are not allowed to enter the Embassy or Consulates with cell phones and other electronic devices (including but not limited to, smartwatches, activity monitoring devices, such as fitbits, tablets, laptops, and other recording devices). Liquids/drinks are also not allowed (except for applicants with children that require a bottle). Bags, with the exception of one small purse or equivalent, are also not allowed.  All visitors and items brought into the Embassy or Consulates are subject to a complete search. Neither the Embassy nor the Consulates have storage facilities for such items. We strongly discourage our customers from bringing these devices when they come to the Embassy or Consulates to conduct business. If you must bring these devices with you, there are private companies that provide storage facilities for a fee. These companies are not sanctioned by or otherwise affiliated with the U.S. government, and the U.S. government takes no responsibility for devices left in their care.

3. After the Interview

Passport Delivery
All issued immigrant visas will be delivered via the ASC. You may choose to receive your visa delivered or pick it up at the nearest ASC branch. The ASC will keep the document for 30 days only. There is no pick-up at the Consulate. If you choose to have your document delivered to your home or other designated address, the scheduling system will tell you how to proceed.

For passport delivery information please go to the ASC website.

For passport delivery questions, please contact the ASC.

Visa Packet
If you are granted an immigrant visa, you will receive a packet of documents inside a manila brown envelope. This packet is known as a “Visa Packet.” Do not open this packet. 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.

Visa Validity
Please check all visa data carefully, including the expiration date.  The maximum validity of an immigrant visa is usually 180 days from the date of the medical exam, but it may be less.  The expiration date written on your visa is the maximum amount of time the visa is valid.  You must travel to the United States before your visa expires.

The dependents of Family Preference, Employment Preference or K-1 visa holders cannot enter the U.S. before the principal beneficiary has entered (dependents include spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 that were included in the same visa petition).

USCIS Immigrant Fee
You will need to pay a USCIS Immigrant Fee. USCIS uses this fee to process your immigrant visa packet and produce your Green Card. We encourage you to pay the fee online after you receive your visa packet and before you depart for the United States.

When You are a Permanent Resident
Learn more about your status as a Lawful Permanent Resident. You may also wish to review Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants.

Social Security Number – To learn about the U.S. Social Security Administration benefits available to Legal Permanent Residents, and how to apply for a social security number card, visit the Social Security Administration website.

Pending Documentation
The Consular Officer may require additional information to determine whether you meet the qualifications for a visa. If you need to submit additional information, your visa will be refused under section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This does not mean the visa has been refused permanently. It means that more action is required before a final decision can be made.

How to send the pending documents:
If you need to send additional physical documents, you must schedule an appointment to deliver the documents to an ASC branch. To schedule an appointment, sign into the ASC website, and select: “Consular Section instructed me to send more documents.” The ASC will forward the documents to the Consulate for review.

If you need to send additional documents by e-mail, send them to immigrationrio@state.gov

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. Learn more.

Ineligibilities and Waivers
Certain conditions and activities may make an applicant ineligible for a visa. Examples of these ineligibilities include drug trafficking, overstaying a previous visa, and submitting fraudulent documents. If you are ineligible for a visa, you will be informed by the consular officer and advised whether there is a waiver of the ineligibility available to you. Classes of Aliens Ineligible to Receive Visas contains the complete list of ineligibilities.

Ineligible IV applicants, for whom a waiver is available, must file a form I-601 with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).  I-601 filing instructions are available at: www.uscis.gov/i-601.

Immigrant Visa applicants requiring consent to reapply for admission in addition to an I-601 waiver of inadmissibility must follow instructions at: www.uscis.gov/i-212.

You can access waiver requirements 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 departed the US during the deportation process. (Considered inadmissible for a period of ten years after 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).