If you plan to travel to the United States to make your new permanent home there, you will need an immigrant visa. Upon entry with such an immigrant visa you will be given the status of legal permanent resident(LPR) by the immigration inspector. You will be issued form I-551, popularly known as the 'green card', as proof of your legal status in the U.S. You are to carry this card with you at all times as it will identify you as a permanent resident when applying for a job, opening a bank account, upon your return to the U.S. from a visit abroad, etc.
The United States Immigration and Nationality Act allows for three principal immigrant visa categories:
- Family based immigration: A petition form I-130 must be filed for you by a U.S. citizen immediate relative (father, mother, brother or sister, child over 21 years of age, or spouse). An I-130 petition can also be filed by a relative with permanent resident status for minor unmarried children, unmarried children over 21 years of age or spouse. Some of these categories take a long time before a visa can be applied for after the petition is filed. Please click here for more information.
- Employment based immigration: A petition form I-140 must be filed in the United States, with the appropriate domestic field office of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Please click here for more information.
- Diversity Visa immigration: Each year the U.S. Government allows for an application round in the Diversity Visa Lottery Program. When selected in this program you can apply for an immigrant visa without having an employer or relative file a petition for you. Please click here for more information.
What is the Consulate's role in the immigrant visa process?
All family and employment based applications start with a petition, filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services through www.uscis.gov. Diversity visa applications start with the aspiring immigrant entering the Diversity Visa Lottery.
At the end of the application process the visa applicant will be invited for a final interview with the consular officer. At the end of the interview the consular officer determines if a visa can be issued. Immigrant visas are usually valid for six months, during which the visa must be used to enter the United States. Upon admission the visa will be stamped by the immigration officer and as such serve as an initial, temporary residence permit (green card). Here's a link to a description of the visa application process in Amsterdam.
Please take some time to read our Immigrant Visa Frequently Asked Questions.
Rights & Protections Pamphlet
- If you are a spouse or fiance(e) of a U.S. Citizen, or spouse of a Lawful Permanent Residents, please read the Rights and Protections pamphlet before your visa interview to learn about your rights in the United States relating to domestic violence, sexual assault,and child abuse and protection available to you. The consular officer will verbally summarize the pamphlet to you during your interview.