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Immigrant Visa Information

The Immigrant Visa Process

An Overview

If you would like to live permanently in the U.S. you, you must obtain an Immigrant Visa (IV), a fiance(e) visa (K visa), or Diversity Visa (DV) to seek entry into the U.S. as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR).  All such applications for residents of Botswana are processed at the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg, South Africa

 

There are four key stages that almost all prospective immigrants must go through to obtain an immigrant visa.  While the length of time and procedures may change depending on the visa category, all prospective applicants pass through some version of each of the following stages to obtain an immigrant visa.

  • Stage 1: Petitions

    Stage 1: Petitions

    • In most cases, the immigration process starts with someone filing a petition on your behalf with the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

       

      Diversity Visa (DV) applicants do not have to file a petition. Instead, your entry into the Diversity Visa Lottery will serve as your petition. Visit Travel.State.Gov for more information on filing a Diversity Visa Lottery application.

       

      Petitions must be filed with the USCIS Service Center having jurisdiction over the petitioner's place of residence. Visit USCIS to obtain more information about how to file a petition and the required documentation.

       

      If you are an American citizen and have been legally resident in Gaborone for at least six months immediately preceding your filing date, you may file your petition for an immediate family member at the U.S. Embassy in Gaborone.


      Please note that fiancé (e) visas cannot be accepted in Gaborone and must be filed with USCIS. Visit U.S. Embassy Gaborone Filing Petition for instructions.

  • Stage 2: Preparation for the Immigrant Visa Interview

    Stage 2: Preparation for the Immigrant Visa Interview

    • Once the petitioned is approved, you will be notified that the petition is being sent to the State Department's National Visa Center (NVC) or Kentucky Consular Center (KCC), where it will receive a case number.

       

      If your petition is current, meaning that the State Department can process your visa application, you will receive instructions on how to prepare for your interview. If you have learned that your case file has been sent to the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg, South Africa and you have not yet received instructions, please email consularjohannesburg@state.gov and include your case number in the subject line of your email. Once Johannesburg receives your case file, they will email you instructions on how to prepare for and schedule your immigrant visa interview, including scheduling the medical exam.For more information, visit the website of the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg, South Africa.

  • Stage 3: The Immigrant Visa Interview

    Stage 3: The Immigrant Visa Interview

    • All immigrant visas applications for residents of Botswana are handled by the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg, South Africa. You will receive an appointment at that Consulate General. 

       

      Before the interview, immigrant visa applicants must undergo a medical exam. All medical exams must be performed by a panel physician pre-approved by the Consulate General in Johannesburg and which includes physicians in Cape Town and Durban. Here is the Medical Instructions and list of approved Panel Physicians.

  • Stage 4: Return of Passport and Documents

    Stage 4: Return of Passport and Documents

    • If you establish your eligibility at the time of your interview, the consular officer will retain your passport and documents. The passport then has the visa placed inside it and the documents are placed in a sealed packet. Immigrant visas are no longer issued on the same day as the interview and take between 4-5 working days to issue after your interview. If approved, you will be provided information on how to collect your visa. 

       

      When you receive the sealed document packet it must not be opened by anybody. It must remain sealed. If the document packet is opened, you must schedule an appointment to have the packet resealed. You can use the visa and accompanying document packet to travel to a U.S. port of entry and seek admission as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR).