Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Immigrate to the United States?
There are several ways to immigrate permanently to the United States. The primary way is if you have an immediate family member who already has U.S. citizenship or permanent residence status. Other ways are through skills qualifications and investment. A final way is through the Diversity Visa program. For a complete list and information on whether or not you may qualify, please visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website, or the Diversity Visa Lottery Program.
How Can My Family Join Me in the United States?
If you are a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident and want to obtain Immigrant Visas for your family to join you in the United States, you must first file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). For further information, visit USCIS' Family page, or the U.S. Department of State's Family Immigration
What is the Status of My Case?
Please send us an email with the beneficiary's name and case number (beginning with JHN) and we will respond within five-seven business days. Emails can be sent to ConsularJohannesburg@state.gov with attention to the IV unit.
When Will I Get an Appointment Letter and Package?
If the National Visa Center (NVC) sent you a letter stating that your file is complete and sent to Johannesburg for scheduling, please wait for your appointment letter to be sent to you. Please note that this may take several months, depending on the immigrant visa filed. You can expect to receive this appointment letter several weeks before your appointment. If original documents were to sent to NVC, please remember to bring photocopies of all documents (including birth, marriage, divorce and death certificates, etc.) to your appointment.
If your inquiry concerns an immigrant visa case in which the I-130 petition was filed in the United States, and it has not been scheduled for an appointment, please send your inquiry directly to the National Visa Center: NVCInquiry@state.gov. If you have been informed by USCIS that your petition has been approved and forwarded to the Department of State, please contact NVC directly.
If you were selected for the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery, please contact the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) for your appointment date at: KCCDV@state.gov.
Can I File an Immigrant Visa Petition in Johannesburg?
In order to file an I-130 petition at the U.S. Consulate in Johannesburg, you must be an American citizen petitioner filing for an immediate relative (spouse, child, or parent). You must demonstrate that you have satisfied the residency requirement by residing in South Africa continuously for at least six months before filing the petition. Individuals who are in the country on temporary status, such as students or tourists, would NOT satisfy the residency requirement. For more information on providing documentation for filing, please contact the Department of Homeland Security office in Johannesburg at email@example.com.
If I Missed My Appointment, How Can I Reschedule?
Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with a written explanation of why you missed your appointment date. Please note that you will be given the next available appointment date within two months. We will not expedite appointments for those who have missed their appointments.
Where Will the Interview Take Place?
All interviews for Immigrant Visas will take place at U.S. Consulate Johannesburg for beneficiaries who reside in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, and Swaziland. U.S. Consulate Johannesburg is located at 1 Sandton Drive at the Corner of Rivonia and Katherine Streets in Sandhurst opposite the Sandton City Shopping Mall. If you are driving, you will need to park at Sandton City Shopping Mall.
What Size and How Many Photos Should I Bring to the Interivew?
Two "5 cm x 5 cm" ("2 in. x 2 in.") color passport photos are required for the interview. However, it is a good idea to bring an extra photo.
More detailed information on photo requirements
What Documents Will I Need to Bring to the Interview?
The required documents are listed on the checklist provided to by the NVC, (or in special circumstances from U.S. Consulate Johannesburg). Please remember to bring ORIGINAL records of birth, marriage, divorce, death, and police certificates. If you are a son or sibling of the petitioner, you must also provide the petitioner's birth certificates.
Please also bring a photocopy of each document. If you are applying for a family-based immigrant visa, please bring evidence of your relationship with the petitioner including photographs, email or letter correspondence, phone records, or any other supporting documentation. You must also leave your originally sealed medical forms from the panel physician with U.S. Consulate Johannesburg security guards.
If you are qualified for an immigrant visa, you must also bring your international passport so we may retain it until your visa is printed and inserted into your passport. Please make your passport is valid for at least six months, and that there are no other valid passports in your name. If you have previously issued passports, or passports with valid Non-Immigrant U.S. visas, please bring them with you to the interview. For more information regarding original documents at the Department of State's travel site.
How Do I Add a Family Member to My Immigrant Visa Case?
If you are inquiring about a new family member whom you wish to add to an approved petition, please contact the National Visa Center in writing providing the petitioner's and the additional beneficiary's name, date of birth, case and receipt number, and a copy of the additional beneficiary's birth certificate.
Information on how to contact the National Visa Center
What Items Are Not Allowed at My Visa Interview?
For security reasons, you may not take the following items into the building: weapons of any kind or size, sharp metal or glass objects, razor blades, liquids, bottles, powdery substances, umbrellas and electronic or battery-operated equipment (including cell phones, radios, tape recorders, cameras, personal digital assistants, and computers), food, drinks, or pre-mixed baby formula. There are no lockers available in which to store these items, so please plan accordingly.
Who Must Attend the Interview? Do I need to bring all of my children?
All applicants must be in attendance for their interview. If you will be using a translator, please ensure that the individual is not a personal friend, or related to you.
Does the Petitioner Need to Come to the Interview?
We do not require the petitioner to attend visa interviews because of space restrictions. However, a family member may come to the aid of elderly applicants, or young children.
Can I Pick Up My Visa on the Same Day as My Interview?
Due to the admnistrative processing associated with visa issuance, it is not possible to issue visas on the same day as the interview. The interviewing officer will inform you when you may collect the visa if you are qualified. Applicants may also wish to arrange with our in-house DHL delivery service of visas once issued. DO NOT make any travel plans until after you have picked up your passport with the visa printed inside.
Do I Owe Money for the Visas? What Are the Visa Fees?
If you have been receiving documentation from the National Visa Center, then most likely you have already paid the visa fee. If not, the current IV fee is USD $230 per person for immediate relative and family preference applications, USD $405 for employment-based applications, and USD $220 for all other cases. Please note that this reflects the USD $74 immigrant visa security surcharge.
All Diversity Visa lottery applicants must pay the USD $330 fee (or the current South African Rand equivalent) per applicant to U.S. Consulate Johannesburg on the day of the interview. This fee includes the Diversity Visa Lottery fee. Please note that you must pay for your entire family before the initial visa interview. If you have not paid for your family before your initial interview, your family will not be interviewed. Also, please note that the visa fees DO NOT GUARANTEE visa issuance as you still need to qualify during the interview.
All K-1 and K-3 visa applicants must pay the USD $240 non-immigrant visa application fee payable at U.S. Consulate Johannesburg. You are required to present the original customer receipt as proof of this payment. Please note that derivatives (such as minor children) are also required to pay the fee.
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 the new fee, including contact information for USCIS, if there are further questions: http://www.USCIS.gov/immigrantfee
Fees at U.S. Consulate Johannesburg can be paid in U.S. dollars by credit card, or in the equivalent South African Rand at the current exchange rate. Debit cards are, unfortunately, not accepted.
What Happens When a Case is Recommended for Revocation?
When a Consular Officer recommends that a petition be revoked, the case is sent from U.S. Consulate Johannesburg to the National Visa Center (NVC). NVC then forwards the case to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' offcie where the petition was originally approved. The U.S. Consulate Johannesburg no longer has jurisdiction over a case once it has been recommended for revocation. As such, you should contact NVC at NVCInquiry@state.gov, or USCIS for further information regarding your case.
What is the Cost of Filing a Waiver? How Do I Check the Status of My Waiver?
How Do I Check My Priority Date?
The Department of State publishes the list of current priority dates every month (known as the Visa Bulletin). Current & archived bulletins are available online.
What is an Affidavit of Support? Why Do I Need to Provide an Affidavit of Support for My Relative?
Information regarding the Affidavits of Support is available online. Please note that you can also obtain an Affidavit of Support form from the USCIS website. Affidavits of Support assist the U.S. Consulate in determining that beneficiaries will not become public financial burdens once they reach the United States.
What Do I Do If My Permanent Residence "Green Card" is lost?
Please send us an email at email@example.com, and explain the circumstances of how and when you lost your green card. We will then forward your inquiry to U.S. Citizens and Immigrant Services who will respond to your inquiry.
I Was Informed That My Case Had Been Placed "On Hold" for Administrative Processing at My Visa Interview. When Can I Expect to Hear From the Consulate?
As soon as the administrative processing has been complete, U.S. Consulate Johannesburg will contact you immediately to finalize your application. The normal expectation for completion of such cases is 60 business days. Unfortnately, this process might take longer than expected, and we do not have control over processing times.
Can You Grant My Relative a Non-Immigrant Visa While We Wait for the Pending Immigrant Visa?
We recommend that Immigrant Visa applicants complete their application for the Immigrant Visa. You may, however, apply for a Non-Immigrant Visa, but issuance is subject to the decision of the adjudicating U.S. Consular Officer.
Can I Be Issued a Visa After the Diversity Visa Lottery season ends
No. The Diversity Visa Lottery Season ends on October 31 of each year. We cannot issue or print visas from the previous Diversity Visa season after October 31th.
Where Can I Go for DNA Testing? How Can I Make an Appointment, or Can I Walk-In?
In September 2009, the U.S. Department of State implemented new rules regarding the collection of DNA samples for Immigrant Visas. Samples are now collected only at U.S. Consulate Johannesburg on an appointment basis. Beneficiaries for Immigrant Visas will first meet with a U.S. Consular Officer, and a medical doctor for a scheduled appointment at U.S. Consulate Johannesburg. DNA will only be used as a final resort to confirm proof of relationship. If a petitioner and beneficiary are unable to demonstrate their relationship by other means, DNA is an option. However, as in all cases, the DNA option is voluntary, and in no case will that option be the only means to prove a relationship. More information regarding DNA testing »
Where Can I Obtain More Information About Immigrant Visas, the Diversity Visa Lottery program, and the National Visa Center (NVC)?
- Information about Immigrant Visas and the National Visa Center.
- Information about the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, and the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC).
- Information about the visa interview process.
- A glossary of technical definitions of terms for visas.
- Information about adjudicating waivers, processing permanent residence cards, Affadavits of Support, and receiving U.S. Citizenship.