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Applying for an Immigrant Visa

Step 1: Filing an Immigrant Visa Petition

Petitioners residing outside the United States are no longer able to routinely file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with U.S. embassies and consulates.  Instead, the petition must be filed directly with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by mail, to their Chicago Lockbox address listed below.

Regular mail:

P.O. Box 804625
Chicago, IL 60680-4107

Express mail or courier delivery:

Attn: I-130
131 South Dearborn - 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517

For additional information about how to file a Form I-130 with the USCIS Chicago Lockbox, please visit the USCIS website or call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283.

For information on how to file a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) petition (form I-360) for Iraqi nationals whom have worked for or on behalf of the U.S. Government, please click here.

For information on how to file a petition for a Fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen, please click here.

For information on how to apply for the Diversity Visa Program (green card lottery), please click here.

For information on other types of immigrant visas, please click here.

Step 2: Case Transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC)

After your petition is approved by USCIS, it will be transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC), where NVC will contact you with instructions on which visa application forms you will need to complete, and what civil documents to prepare for your interview.  NVC will hold your case until it is ready to be scheduled for an interview.

Some petitions may remain at NVC for several months or for many years depending on the visa category and country of birth of the applicant.  When an applicant's case is about to become current (a visa number is likely to be available within the year), NVC will notify the applicant to submit the required civil documents, police clearances, affidavits of support and other key documents.  The file will then be forwarded to Embassy Baghdad for the interview process. 

Step 3: Scheduling of the Visa Interview

Visa interviews are conducted by appointment only from Sunday to Thursday at 7:00 AM, except on U.S. and local holidays.  Applicants should plan to spend several hours at the Embassy. 

Step 4: Preparing the Documents in Support of your Visa Application

Each immigrant visa applicant is required to present a packet of documents in support of his/her visa application to a consular representative on the day of the visa interview.  To obtain a list of the required documents, please click here.  Do not email these documents to us, they must be presented at the time of your interivew.

All immigrant and fianc(é)e visa applicants, regardless of age, are required to undergo a medical examination before receiving a visa.  This medical examination must be performed by one of the panel physician authorized by the Embassy.  To obtain the information regarding our authorized panel physicians, please contact us by clicking here.

Step 5: On the Day of your Immigrant Visa Interview

Please appear at the Embassy for the interview at the appointed time; late arrivals may result in your appointment being rescheduled for a later date.

When you arrive, a consular representative will accept your documents referenced in Step 4.  Afterwards, your fingerprints will be captured through a simple collection process which is done electronically; this is a requirement from all applicants age 14 and over.  After your fingerprints have been collected, you will proceed to the final step during your appointment, which is the visa interview with the consular officer.

Children under 14 years of age do not need to appear in person, unless they are the sole beneficiary of a petition (such as an IR2, CR2, IH3, IR3, IH4, IR4 or F22).  If you are unsure whether your child must attend the visa interview, please contact us.

Please do not bring any electronic equipment or large bags/suitcases to the Embassy.  Cameras, cell phones, computers and other electronics are not allowed inside the building.

All visa applicants are reminded not to make any travel arrangements or separate from their employment until such time as they have physically received their visas.

Successful applicants will have their passport with the visa and other documents returned through the courier service.  If a visa cannot be approved on the day of the interview, applicants will be informed of whether any additional documents are required to continue the process.  You may submit missing documents by dropping the items off at the Embassy or by sending the documents to the Immigrant Visa Unit through a courier service or the U.S. mail. 

Step 6: After you Receive your Visa

Once you have received your immigrant visa, please note the expiration date.  You must enter the United States before your visa expires. 

Permanent residents are free to travel outside of the United States; however, if you plan to remain outside of the U.S. for more than 1 year, you should obtain authorization from USCIS prior to departing the United States.  For more information, please visit USCIS' website by clicking here.