Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
How to Apply

Immigrant Visas

How to Apply

Processing of Immigrant Visas Filed at NVC or KCC

For petitions filed in the United States, upon receipt, each application will be reviewed by NVC or KCC.  Once all required documents are provided, NVC will schedule an appointment and notify the petitioner and the beneficiary with an appointment letter.  NVC will send to the petitioner, beneficiary, and/or agent of choice the appointment letter by e-mail, regular mail, or express courier.  Please follow the instructions in the Before the Interview section regarding what you need to do to get ready for your interview.

Processing of Immigrant Visas Filed in Greece

Forms to be completed

The petitioner and beneficiary (immigrant visa applicant) will need to gather all the required documents below. After gathering them, the beneficiary should register for courier service with our provider DHL. There is no additional fee for this courier service; it is already included in the visa fee that you have paid. DHL courier service is only provided within Greece. Register for DHL service by visiting http://greece.usvisa-info.com and following the instructions on how to register for DHL courier service. Please save your account details. Once the beneficiary has gathered all the required documents, he/she should send all the required documents to the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Immigrant Visa Unit by DHL courier.

For Petitioner:

  • Original, signed Affidavit of Support, Form I-864 (not photocopy, nor sent by fax or email), for each petition filed.
  • A photocopy of the sponsor’s U.S. passport, naturalization certificate, or legal permanent resident card.
  • A recently issued job letter that includes information on length of employment and salary.
  • Tax returns for the most recent year (Form- 1040), or an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax return transcript (if the sponsor filed electronically). To request IRS-generated transcripts or copies of your most recent tax return, please visit the IRS website.
  • Most recent tax year W-2s for all jobs held.
  • If the sponsor is married, the sponsor’s spouse must also complete and submit an original Form I-864A, (note: this form is different from the Form I-864), accompanied by a photocopy of his or her U.S. passport, naturalization certificate, or legal permanent resident card.

For more information on preparing the Affidavit of Support forms, please visit the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs web page “Affidavit of Support Instructions.”

Joint Sponsor:  If the petitioner’s income does not meet the requirements of 125 percent of the Poverty Guidelines, established yearly by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the beneficiary will also need to find a joint sponsor who can present:

  • Original, signed Affidavit of Support, Form I-864 (not photocopy, nor sent by fax or email), for each petition filed.
  • A photocopy of the sponsor’s U.S. passport, naturalization certificate, or legal permanent resident card.
  • A recently issued job letter that includes information on length of employment and salary.
  • Tax returns for the most recent year (Form- 1040), or an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax return transcript (if the sponsor filed electronically). To request IRS-generated transcripts or copies of your most recent tax return, please visit the IRS website.
  • Most recent tax year W-2s for all jobs held.
  • If the joint sponsor is married, the joint sponsor’s spouse must also complete and submit an original Form I-864A, (note: this form is different from the Form I-864), accompanied by a photocopy of his or her U.S. passport, naturalization certificate, or legal permanent resident card.

These documents from a joint sponsor are in addition to the financial documents that the petitioner needs to provide. If the petitioner does not meet the poverty income guidelines, she/he still has to provide all the necessary financial documents, and then a joint sponsor will also need to provide their own financial documents.

For Beneficiary (Visa Applicant): All the below-listed documents are required.  Additional documents may be required, depending on the circumstances of your case.  If so, we will contact you once we have received the below documents to let you know any other documents that are necessary.

Any documents that are not in English or Greek must be officially translated at the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the original and translation both provided. For further instructions on obtaining official translations, please visit http://www.mfa.gr/en/citizen-services/translation-service/translation-service.html

All these documents are valid for one year of the issuance date, and we cannot proceed with scheduling you for an interview until all documents have been provided.

 

  • Completed DS-260:  Complete the Form DS-260 online, and obtain the required documents listed below. Please do not leave any questions blank on the DS-160. Questions that do not apply to the applicant’s particular situation should be answered “Does Not Apply.” Include all names and last names used, including maiden name. Answer YES to the question on Vaccination. Include phone numbers and e-mail addresses for both beneficiary and petitioner, so that we can communicate any further notices to you. Answer all Security and Background questions that apply in your case. If you lost your Invoice I.D. number, you may contact NVC to recover it.
  • Photocopy of your passport: A photocopy of all applicants’ passports must be provided.

Applicant’s passports must be valid for travel to the United States and must have at least six months validity beyond the expiration date of the visa. You must also bring your passport with you to your interview appointment.

  • Birth Certificate(s): A birth registration certificate (Lixiarhiki Praxi Genniseos) is available from the registrar's office (Lixiarhio) where your birth was registered. Make sure to obtain the Lixiarhiki Praxi Genniseos version, not the Pistiotiko. The certificate must state the date and place of birth, and the names of both parents.  You have to be sure that the place of birth, and date of birth, are exactly the same in your passport as they are in your birth certificate. The certificate must also indicate that the information contained therein is taken from official records. Photocopies are acceptable, provided the original is offered for inspection by the consular officer at the time of your interview. One birth certificate for each person named in the application is required.  Birth records must be presented for all unmarried children under age 21 included on the petition, even if they do not wish to immigrate at this time. If any of the children are deceased, please state so, giving the year of death, and provide a death certificate (Lixiarhiki Praxi Thanatos).  If you or any children were adopted, you must submit a certified copy of the final adoption decree. 
  • Marriage Certificate(s):  Married persons are required to present a certified copy of their marriage certificate for any/all marriages they have had, issued from the place where the marriage took place.  On the marriage certificate the total number of marriages (including the present one) should be clearly written.  Proof of the termination of any previous marriage must also be submitted.
  • Divorce degree(s) and death certificate(s):  If previously married, please include proof of the termination of all your previous marriages, whether by death or divorce (e.g., death certificate of previous spouse, translated final decree of divorce, etc.).
  • Greek Police Certificate:  All applicants over the age of 16 are required to provide a Greek penal record. A penal record for judicial purpose can be obtained by presenting Form DS-2002 at the Public Prosecutor’s office in the district of the applicant’s place of birth, or/and from the Bureau of Penal Records – Ministry of Justice, for persons born in the Athens/Piraeus district.  For persons born outside Greece, this certificate is obtainable from the “Penal Service for Foreigners” (Mesogion 96, Athens, Greece). When you apply for the penal record, be sure to note that you are applying for the JUDICIAL USE type, in association with a visa application at the U.S. Embassy. Penal records for judicial use will be sent directly to the U.S. Embassy in Athens. They will not be sent or given to the applicant.  Please do not obtain a penal record for General Use as it is NOT acceptable by the U.S. Embassy.
  • If applying from outside of Greece, Greek nationals must apply to the Greek Embassy at their place of residence and include in their written application full details of their identity and residence in Greece. Penal records for judicial use applied for outside of Greece will be sent directly to the Greek Embassy where the request was filed, and then forwarded to the U.S. Embassy in Athens. Foreign nationals are not able to apply for Greek penal records outside of Greece.
  • Court Records:  Persons who have been convicted of a crime must obtain a certified copy of the court records and of any prison records for each conviction, regardless of the fact that they may have benefited subsequently from an amnesty, pardon, or other act of clemency. This applies for convictions in any country. These documents must be translated and notarized translated at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Athens Greece. Please visit: http://www.mfa.gr/en/citizen-services/translation-service/translation-service.html
  • Police Certificates for a Foreign Country:  All applicants over the age of sixteen are also required to provide a penal record from another countries if:  The applicant is a national of the other country, and has resided for at least six months in that country since the age of sixteen or for any/all other countries where the applicant has resided for at least one year since the age of sixteen.  A police certificate must also be obtained from the police authorities for any place where the applicant has been arrested for any reason, regardless of how long he or she lived in that country.
  • Military Records:  A certified copy of any military record, if applicable and obtainable, is required.  Persons who have served in the Greek Armed Forces must obtain the Type “A” military record.  Persons who have served in the Police Force or Gendarmerie should present the standard official discharge certificates.
  • Other Civil Documents:  Decisions issued by the responsible state authority regarding name changes, age amendments, adoption and similar subjects must also be submitted.
  • Photos:  Regardless of age, all immigrant visa applicants must present two un-retouched, color photographs, approximately 5 X 5 cm in size, taken on a white background. The photo should have a full frontal view of the face, with the head centered in the frame. If these requirements are not met, the photo will not be accepted. You will need to bring a new photo on the interview date, taken within the last three months.
  • Evidence of Relationship with Your U.S. Citizen/LPR Spouse or Fiancée:   For immigrant visa cases based on your marital or fiancée relationship with the petitioner, you might also wish to provide evidence of relationship to petitioner, such as photographs, correspondence, or phone call/email/skype/viber records, which clearly identify petitioner and beneficiary, proof of your travel together, or any other evidence of your relationship over time.

 

Before the Interview

If you haven’t already, you must register for DHL courier service. Do this by visiting http://greece.usvisa-info.com and following the instructions on how to register for DHL courier service. Please save your account details, as you may need to go back to this website to learn about your passport delivery status, and/or to submit new documents to the Consular Section, if instructed to do so. This DHL courier service is at no extra charge to you, and is valid only within Greece. Print out the DHL confirmation page and bring it on the appointment date. A visa cannot be issued without a DHL registration.

Once you have provided all the necessary documents, a visa interview appointment will be scheduled (either by NVC or in Greece). Before the day of the interview, all beneficiaries (visa applicants) will need:

  • Medical Examination: Before an immigrant visa interview, all beneficiaries are required to undergo an examination performed by one of the medical doctors in Athens authorized to administer the examination, letting them know that the exam is for the purposed of an immigrant visa.  All beneficiaries (including any children) must arrange a medical examination appointment at least two days prior to the interview date. To do this, you should contact the eligible physicians to schedule an appointment as soon you know when your visa interview date is, to avoid creating delays in your case. The beneficiary is responsible for the cost of this examination.

On the Day of Your Interview

Security Information:  No electronic devices of any kind are allowed inside the U.S. Embassy, including cell phones, cameras, recording devices, electronics, computers, large bags or luggage. There are public cubbies for you to store electronics, be we recommend not bringing any such items to the Embassy on the day of your interview. The Embassy does not take responsibility for any valuables left in the public cubby area. Applicants may not bring weapons, liquids or objects under pressure (such as hairspray or deodorant). There is no public parking at the Embassy; public transportation is encouraged. The nearest metro station is Megaron Moussikis.

You should bring with you to your interview:

  • The interview appointment letter you received from NVC or from the Embassy in Greece;
  • A new photo, taken in the last 3 months;
  • Updates originals of any civil documents in your case that were issued more than one year ago and/or any new financial evidence from your sponsors/joint sponsors, for the most recent tax year.
  • A copy of your DHL confirmation page for courier service

After your personal interview with the Consular Officer, if your file is complete and you are found qualified, your visa will be issued and placed in your passport.  Processing usually takes the Embassy 10-15 business days to complete. Once that process is complete, the visa, passport and visa packet will be sent by DHL courier service to the DHL branch you selected when registering. DHL will notify the beneficiary via e-mail to pick up the passport and visa packet. Please do not open the visa packet envelope. Only the Customs and Border authorities in the U.S. are authorized to do so. If you open your visa packet, you will need to send the entire thing back to the Embassy for reprocessing.

Some visa applications may require additional documents or further administrative processing.  When additional documents are requested, the Consular Officer will provide you with a refusal letter, which lists exactly the missing documents. Once you have gathered the missing documents, you should send them to the U.S. Embassy through the DHL courier service. In other cases, further administrative processing requires additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a Consular Officer. Applicants are advised of this requirement at the time of the interview. Most administrative processing is resolved within 90 days of the visa interview. However, the timing will vary based on individual circumstances of each case.

After You Have Received the Passport and Visa Packet

The visa in the passport is usually valid for six months from the date of your medical exam. When you receive the visa from DHL, please check the visa expiration date. You must immigrate to the United States before that date. Please also check the beneficiary’s data on the visa for any possible misspellings or mistakes. If there are any mistakes on the visa, e-mail athusiv@state.gov with information regarding the error, and you will receive instructions on how we can fix the error.

The beneficiary’s visa cannot be extended beyond the expiration date, and the fees paid for the visa are not refundable. If for any reason the beneficiary cannot use the immigrant visa, he/she should return it to the U.S. Embassy in Athens.  Children who turn 21 years old after visa issuance should travel to the United States before they turn 21 years old; otherwise, they are very likely not to qualify for LPR status.

Do not open the sealed envelope, which contains the immigration packet. The beneficiary will need to surrender the visa packet, along with the CD of the beneficiary’s x-rays from the medical examination to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer upon entry into the United States. Do not pack the visa packet and x-rays in your suitcase. Rather, they should hand-carried. Once the beneficiary hands in the visa packet upon entry to the U.S., USCIS will begin processing the beneficiary’s Form I-551, Legal Permanent Resident Card, also known as a Green Card. The LPR card will be mailed to the address in the United States that is written in the beneficiary’s DS-260 application form. If you have questions regarding the LPR Card or if the beneficiary did not receive his/her card within a certain time, please contact the USCIS office in the state where the beneficiary is residing.

Once the beneficiary has entered the U.S. with an immigrant visa, he/she should not travel outside the U.S. before he/she has received his/her LPR card.

USCIS Immigrant 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, returning residents, and those issued K visas are exempt from this fee. You will receive instructions on how to pay the fee once the visa is issued. The USCIS website has more details on the fee, including contact information for USCIS, for any questions.

Other Important Details

  • No assurance can be given in advance that a visa will be issued. A consular officer can make a decision only after the formal application and all documents are reviewed, and the officer has personally interviewed all applicants.
  • Beneficiaries should not make any travel arrangements for departure, dispose of personal property or make other life changes until the visa has been issued.  An immigrant visa is valid for a maximum of six months from the date of issuance.  Applicants must travel and apply for admission to the United States before their immigrant visas expire.
  • This office will make every effort to expedite the process. However should complications arise, applicants may be required to return to this office or furnish additional information.
  • Section 203(g) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act requires that an intending immigrant pursue his/her visa application within one year from the date he/she is informed that it is possible to do so. If you fail to immigrate within one year from the date that you NVC or the Embassy in Athens informs you that you are ready to schedule an interview, your application and any visa petition approved for you will be cancelled.
  • Visa fraud is a serious offense. Attempts to misrepresent a material fact or mislead a consular officer may jeopardize all current and future visa applications.