DOS FAQs

Unless the context shows otherwise, all answers here were provided by Rajiv and were compiled and reported by our editorial team from comments and blog on immigration.com

Green Card holder stuck outside the US for more than a year

Authored on: Tue, 12/01/2020 - 23:08

Question

I am a US citizen who Sponsored my fathers green card in 2010. His green card is expiring oct 2020. He had to stay in India since Jan 2019 due to health conditions. With the Covid pandemic situation and his age (81) and health conditions, he is not able to travel back to the united States before the green card expiry. My father does not have any family in India to take care of him and will have to come here so that my brother and I can take care of him. What are our options for avoiding the expiry of the green card? Secondly, is there a 60 day extension on the expiry date due to Covid 19?

Answer

National Visa Center

Authored on: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 02:06

Question

1. How does the National Visa Center fit into the U.S. immigration process?
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2. USCIS sent my immigrant visa petition to the NVC. Now what happens?<br>

3. How do I know if my priority date meets the most recent cut-off date? What does that mean?
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4. How do I know what my priority date is?
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5. How Do I Contact the NVC?

Answer

1. After U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves your immigrant visa petition, USCIS forwards your petition to the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, NH for immigrant visa pre-processing at the correct time. Immediate relative categories do not have yearly numerical limits. However, family preference and employment based immigrant categories have numerical limits each year; therefore, lengthy wait times are involved for processing to begin.

2. If your Priority Date meets the most recent Cut-off Date, or is likely to become current soon, the NVC will:

  1. Invoice you for your visa application fees
  2. Collect your visa application and supporting documentation
  3. Hold your visa petition until an interview can be scheduled with a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

If your Priority Date DOES NOT meet the most recent Cut-off Date, the NVC will notify you and hold your petition until your Priority Date meets the most recent Cut-off Date or is likely to become current soon. As your Priority Date gets closer to the Cut-off Date, NVC will contact you to start processing. The Department of State updates the Cut-off Dates on a monthly basis in the Visa Bulletin

3. If your Priority Date meets the most recent Cut-off Date (called becomes current) and your petition is ready to begin processing at the NVC. As your Priority Date gets closer to the Cut-off Date and is likely to be current soon, NVC will contact you to start processing. Learn more by reviewing the Visa Bulletin.

4. USCIS assigned your immigrant visa petition a Priority Date when you filed it with USCIS. If you are unsure of your Priority Date, you should refer to the Approval Notice that you received from USCIS.

5. NVC Contact Information

Visa Expiration Date

Authored on: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 06:04

Question

What the Visa Expiration Date Means

Answer

The visa expiration date is shown on the visa along with the visa issuance date. The time between visa issuance and expiration date is called your visa validity. The visa validity is the length of time you are permitted to travel to a port-of-entry in the United States.
 
Depending on your nationality, visas can be issued from a single entry (application) up to multiple/unlimited entries.
 
A visa issued for a single entry (denoted on the visa under “Entries” with the number 1) is valid, or can be used from the date it is issued until the date it expires to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry one time.
A visa issued for multiple entries (denoted under “entries” with a certain number (2, 3, etc.) or “M” for multiple/unlimited entries) is valid, or can be used from the date it is issued until the date it expires to travel to the U.S. port-of-entry as many times as your visa states, provided that:
    Applying for a new visa is not necessary if your visa has not expired and you have not exceeded the number of entries permitted on your visa.
    Multiple uses of a visa must be for the same purpose of travel allowable on the type of visa you have.
 
Please be aware, a visa does not guarantee entry to the United States. Additionally, the visa expiration date shown on your visa does not reflect how long you are authorized to stay within the United States. Entry and the length of authorized stay within the United States are determined by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer at the port-of-entry each time you travel.
 
It is important to note that there are circumstances which can serve to void or cancel the period of visa validity. If you overstay the end date of your authorized stay, as provided by the CBP officer at a port-of-entry, or United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), your visa will automatically void or cancel unless;
 
You have filed an application in a timely manner for an extension of stay or a change of status;
That application is pending and not frivolous;
If you have applied for adjustment of status to become a permanent resident (LPR, also called green card holder), you should contact USCIS regarding obtaining Advance Parole before leaving the United States.
 
Admission to the United States and your Duration of Stay
Upon arriving at a port of entry, the CBP official will determine the length of your visit.
 
On the admission stamp or paper Form I-94, the U.S. immigration inspector records either an admitted-until date or "D/S" (duration of status). If your admission stamp or paper Form I-94 contains a specific date, then that is the date by which you must leave the United State. If you have D/S on your admission stamp or paper Form I-94, you may remain in the United States as long as you continue your course of studies, remain in your exchange program, or qualifying employment. The admitted-until date or D/S notation, shown on your admission stamp or paper Form I-94 is the official record of your authorized length of stay in the United States. You cannot use the visa expiration date in determining or referring to your permitted length of stay in the United States.
 
Carefully review information about international visitor admission on the CBP Website.
 
Extension of Stay
If you came to the United States on a nonimmigrant visa and you want to extend your stay you must apply with USCIS before your authorized stay, denoted on your admission stamp or paper Form I-94, expires. It is recommended you apply well in advance of your expiration date. To learn more select USCIS, How Do I Extend My Stay?.
 
Important Note: Providing permission to enter and/or remain in the United States. to persons holding a nonimmigrant visa is not the responsibility of the Department of State, and therefore Visa Services is unable assist you in this regard. All inquiries must be directed to USCIS.
 
What if I Decide to Stay Longer and am Out-of-Status with the Department of Homeland Security?
You should carefully consider the dates of your authorized stay and make sure you are following the procedures. Failure to do so will cause you to be out-of-status.
Staying beyond the period of time authorized, by the Department of Homeland Security, and out-of-status in the United States, is a violation of U.S. immigration laws, and may cause you to be ineligible for a visa in the future for return travel to the United States. If you overstay the end date of your authorized stay, as provided by the CBP officer at a port-of-entry, or United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), your visa will generally be automatically be voided or cancelled, as explained above. Select Classes of Aliens Ineligible to Receive Visas to learn more.

Expedited Appointments for Applicants

Authored on: Mon, 07/29/2013 - 06:27

Question

In terms of scheduling an interview, are there any special considerations in consideration of an expedited appointment?

Answer

According to the State Department they will typically grant expedited appointments to applicants who wish to go for funerals, family visits in medical emergencies, emergency medical treatment, the start of a school term, or important business travel. All requests are submitted through a form on the website. The center responds to all requests within 24 hours. The center recommends that applicants upload evidence along with the request, especially in medical cases, as outside vendors submit a large number of spurious requests daily.

Request Number in the visa appointment site - Explanation from State Department

Authored on: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 01:28

Question

When using the new visa appointment site, what should my client list in the mandatory field that asks for the "Request Number"?

Answer

When a visa applicant sets up a user account in the appointment system, an 8-digit identifying number is assigned to the applicant. When logged into the appointment system, this "Request Number" appears in white against a red background in the upper right hand corner of the screen in parentheses after the applicant's e-mail address: