After the Visa is Approved
Your visa will be placed in your passport and mailed to you. There is no pick-up at the Consulate. All passport delivery is conducted through a courier service that has a partnership with the consulate to return your visa after issued. Upon the approval of your visa you will receive instructions on how to contract this service. This service is mandatory. The consulate will not be responsible for losses or damages that may occur to the correspondence, nor any tracking system. If the correspondence gets lost, you would have to prepare all the documents again in order to receive another visa. One envelop can hold up to four visas; issuance of five or more visas will require additional envelops.
Passports containing visas and additional documents will be returned to applicants in sealed envelopes by the courrier service within two to three working days once a Consular officer approves the immigrant visa application.
The courier plastic envelope may be opened by you. You will note that along with your passport with the visa you will receive a second sealed envelope which contains all the documents that you submitted in your visa interview. You must NOT open this envelop and must hand-carry it to the U.S.
The only person that has the authority to open this second envelope is the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Officer at your first Port of Entry into the U.S.
Effective February 1, 2013, all individuals issued immigrant visas overseas must pay a $165.00 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 new fee using the new USCIS ELIS system, including contact information for USCIS, if there are further questions.
At the airport in Brazil, you will need to show your passport with the visa and the sealed envelope to both the Brazilian authorities and the airline attendant. The USCIS Office will open your envelope and conduct a review 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.
If, for any reason, you are unable to use your visa, you are requested to return it to this office, 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.
Immigrant Visas in general:
In general the Immigrant Visa is valid for 180 days. Only in exceptional cases we will be able to issue another visa if you do not enter the United States before the expiration date. Please contact us thru e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to know how to proceed. This does not apply to Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery Winners. DV winners must enter the U.S. before the expiration date. Failure to do so will result in the Visa being forfeited and there will be no possibility of having another DV Visa.
At your first Port-of-Entry in the U.S., the USCIS Officer will retain your visa package and will place an ADIT (admission) stamp into your passport. The USCIS officer can answer questions about when and how you will receive your green card. Until you receive your green card your ADIT stamp is your proof of legal residency in the United States and you can immediately live, work and study in the USCIS office will mail your physical green card to the address that you provided in the Sworn Statement (form DS 230-I).
Note that this "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.
K1/K2 - Fiancée visas:
The fiancée visa is valid for valid for 180 days and allows you only one entry into the United States. In very exceptional cases only, we will be able to issue another visa if you do not enter the United States before the expiration date. Please contact us through e-mail email@example.com to know how to proceed. 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 fiancée to spouse of an American citizen. 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".
K3/K4 - Non-immigrant spouse visas:
The K3 visa is valid for 24 (twenty-four) months, multiple entries into the United States. After your entry, you will have to wait for the approval of your I-130 petition by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Upon approval of the petition, you and your spouse must contact the closest CIS office to adjust your status from a K3 visa holder for spouse of American citizen, to an immigrant visa IR-1/CR-1 and the issuance of your "green card".
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.