Immigrant Visa Information

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Overview

In general, a person who wishes to immigrate to the United States must have a petition approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before applying for an immigrant visa. The petition is filed either by a qualified relative or a potential employer at a USCIS office in the United States. Specific information about filing immigrant petitions is available on the USCIS website. An individual with an approved petition and a priority date that is current for processing (when applicable) is eligible to apply for an immigrant visa or K nonimmigrant visa.

Petitions

USCIS no longer accepts or adjudicates routine Form I-130 petitions overseas.   

Petitioners residing overseas who are unable to file with DOS must file Form I-130 by mail with the USCIS lockbox facility or online using the USCIS website.

To check the status of your immigrant petition filed with the USCIS lockbox facility, visit the USCIS website. You will need to enter your petition receipt number, which is a 13-digit receipt number starting with EAC, WAC, LIN, IOE, or SRC, followed by numbers.

USCIS Immigrant Fee

Effective February 1, 2013, all individuals issued immigrant visas overseas must pay a $220.00 USCIS Immigrant Fee to USCIS after receiving their visas and before traveling to the United States. The only exemptions to this fee are children adopted under the Orphan (IR-3s/IR-4s) or Hague Processes (IH-3s/IH-4s), Iraqi or Afghan special immigrants who were employed by the U.S. government, returning residents (SB-1s), and those issued K visas.

Effective February 1, 2013, all individuals issued immigrant visas overseas must pay a $220.00 USCIS Immigrant Fee to USCIS after receiving their visas and before traveling to the United States. The only exemptions to this fee are children adopted under the Orphan (IR-3s/IR-4s) or Hague Processes (IH-3s/IH-4s), Iraqi or Afghan special immigrants who were employed by the U.S. government, returning residents (SB-1s), and those issued K visas.

Exceptional Filing

Consular officers at U.S. Embassy Tokyo and U.S. Consulate General Naha may accept Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, filed by qualified U.S. military service members for any immediate relative case, when the active duty military service member is stationed at a military base in Japan. This military exception does not apply to service members assigned to non-military bases such as embassies or civilian institutions, to service members on temporary duty orders, or to civilians assigned to U.S. military bases in Japan.

Beginning August 15, 2011, petitioners who believe their situation merits an exception may request the Consular Section to accept the filing. Each request will be evaluated individually.

USCIS published guidance on the circumstances that may qualify as exceptional.

Medical Requirements

All applicants must undergo a medical exam by an Embassy- or Consulate-approved Panel Physician. You will receive instructions about how to schedule an appointment for your medical exam from the National Visa Center (NVC) or the Embassy/Consulate. Do not try to make an appointment before receiving these instructions.

Visa Interview Appointment

If you have an interview date, you must appear at the Embassy or Consulate on the date of your appointment. Arrive at the Embassy or Consulate fifteen minutes before your appointment. Please read about security restrictions at the Embassy or Consulate that describe what you can and cannot bring with you to your interview. Bring your appointment letter and the required documents.

You may request permission to bring ONE interpreter if you do not speak English or Japanese well enough to participate in an interview. If you wish to bring one, please notify the Embassy or Consulate.