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Immigrant Visas

On Immigrant Visas and Related Matters

Frequently asked questions on services and procedures related to immigrant visas.

(Click on your question to get the answer.)

  1. If a petition was recently filed by me/for with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, how will I be notified of its approval?  Can I get information on its status through the Consulate General?
  2. What does the U.S. Supreme Court's repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act mean for immigrant visa issuance?

1. What does to immigrate mean?

  • To immigrate means to take up permanent residence in the United States. It means you are going to make the U.S. your principal place of residence for the foreseeable future. If you are going to the U.S. for work or study, even if such stay is for several years, you are not immigrating. For such stays you should consult our section on non-immigrant visas.

2. What is a Green Card?

The document often referred to as Green Card, or Alien Resident Card (ARC) is actually form I-551, permanent resident card. It is a credit-card sized document issued to legal permanent residents (LPRs) of the United States. It is proof that the holder, while not a U.S. citizen, has the right of abode and is authorized for employment in the U.S. Holders of permanent resident cards must carry their cards at all times in the U.S. and should bring their cards when traveling abroad. While not a travel document a permanent resident card must be carried by all LPRs upon their return to the U.S. More information on permanent resident card holders rights and responsibilities can be found at:

3. After my final interview, when can I expect my immigrant visa?

You cannot receive your visa the same day as the interview, nor can the Consulate allow you to return and pick up your visa. It will be mailed as soon as possible after your interview, by registered mail to an address in the Netherlands of your choice. When after your final interview issuance of your immigrant visa is approved, your passport will be retained by the Consulate to put the visa in it. At the same time a visa package, containing your visa file, e.g. the petition, your civil and financial support documents and your medical examination results. This visa package must be hand carried and presented with your passport to the immigration inspector upon your arrival in the United States.

4. Do I get my original documents back after the final visa interview?

The Consulate intends to return originals whenever possible, provided you present them with good quality plain photocopies.

5. I need a Dutch police clearance for my visa interview. How can I obtain this?

You will find instructions on the travel website of the State Department

If you do have a criminal or arrest record in The Netherlands you must still follow the above guidance, but also you must obtain your own conviction/arrest records from the Dutch convicting court. If you appeared before a single judge court you must obtain your 'aantekening mondeling vonnis'. If you appeared before a multiple judge court you must get your 'extract vonnis'. These documents will be issued in Dutch and require you to arrange for a sworn translation into English before presenting them to the visa processing post.

6. How long is an immigrant visa valid?

Immigrant visas are normally issued for the validity period of the medical examination, the maximum validity of which, is six months.

7. Do I need an immigration attorney to help me with my application?

That decision is yours to make. It is best to decide after you have looked at all required forms and pertinent instructions available on this and related government websites. If you do hire an attorney, remember you are still responsible for accurate compliance with all instructions and requirements. Also, an attorney cannot sign application documents on your behalf.

8. How am I to pay the immigrant visa fees?

If your application was started by a petition filed in the U.S. all fees except the medical fees will have been paid in the U.S. before your file was forward to the Consulate General in Amsterdam. Medical fees are to be paid directly to the doctor providing the service, in cash and in euro only. More information on immigrant visa fees ...

9. Can the Consulate General in Amsterdam tell me the status of my application?

Only if your file is with the Consulate General in Amsterdam, and you have an Amsterdam case number, e. g. AMS2008001001. For all cases pending with USCIS or NVC you will have to contact those offices.