Visa Immigrant FAQs

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.

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

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 with attention to the IV unit.

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: 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:

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

Please send us an email at 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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Due to the administrative processing associated with visa issuance, it is not possible to issue visas on the same day as the interview. The immigrant visa process takes 3 business days from the day of your interview. An applicant, who does not wish to personally collect their passport from the Consulate, may arrange delivery though our in-house DHL courier service. This service will be charged at a fee and payable at the time of a successful immigrant interview.

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:

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.

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, or USCIS for further information regarding your case.


The fee to file an I-601 waiver is USD $585, and the fee to file an I-212 waiver is also USD $585.

The Department of State publishes the list of current priority dates every month (known as the Visa Bulletin).  Current & archived bulletins are available online.

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.

Please send us an email at, 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.

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. Unfortunately, this process might take longer than expected, and we do not have control over processing times.

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.

No. The Diversity Visa Lottery Season ends on September 30 of each year.  We cannot issue or print visas from the previous Diversity Visa season after September 30th.

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 »