Visa Validity (IV)

VIZARD’S CORNER

VISAtisfied Voyager’s immigration wizard protects you from the evils of wrong information.

Dear Vizard,

I am so happy that I will finally be re-united with my family in the United States because I just received my passport together with my immigrant visa packet last week.  I just have a few questions:  Is it okay to remove the plastic so I can retrieve my passport?  I also noticed that my visa expiration is in two (2) months.  Why didn’t I get the full six (6) months validity?  My cousin’s husband got his visa yesterday and his will expire in five (5) months.

I hope you can answer my questions, Vizard.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Magdalena dela Cruz

 

A few moments later, Magdalena received this response from Vizard:

Dear Ms. Dela Cruz,

Congratulations on receiving your immigrant visa.  You may open the plastic wrapper, but NOT the sealed brown envelope.  This envelope contains all the documents you and your petitioner submitted in connection with the visa application process.  Please also do not remove the paper stapled to the envelope (the “Data Summary Page”).  You will need to hand the envelope over to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the U.S. port of entry.

After you remove your visa from the outer plastic, you should check it for errors and note the expiration date.  Different applicants may have different visa validities.  Most immigrant visa validity dates are tied to the validity of the medical exam results, but there may be other reasons why the visa validity date is shorter than you expect.  Therefore, you must not assume that your visa is automatically valid for six (6) months, or one (1) year, or whatever your family member or friend received.  

Please also note that it is your responsibility to know when your visa will expire and to make sure that you can enter the U.S. prior to that date.  The latest you can travel is before midnight of the day BEFORE the visa expiration.  For example, if your visa will expire on 31-DEC-2011, you will need to travel to the U.S. and arrive BEFORE 31-DEC-2011.  In this case, you must begin your travel NO LATER THAN 30-DEC-2011.

Just to be safe, however, I recommend that you travel well in advance of your visa expiration date, but DO NOT purchase your tickets until you have your visa in hand.

Good luck!

Sincerely,

Vizard

20 thoughts on “Visa Validity (IV)

  1. I really and truly enjoy this website I have learned so much from this added tool on the web being offered by the US Embassy.

    I applied a i-130 Immigrant Visa for my step daughter who turns 21 in December. I applied giving 3 months time for the processing. We live way down south in the Philippines and our mail gets to our door an average of one month or more late from when it was being stamped in the capitol city of the province. I think it is a really rotten set up as people miss important things and what not. I hope that I have not missed any important documents coming from your US-Manila Embassy headquarters in Manila? Also the cashier got my daughters name after she checked the application I tried to contact the office regarding this and hope all was noted. September 14-15 was when I went there. Her name is Machete and the receipt said Machute….I have not been home to see my American family for sometime….looking forward to taking my long time step daughter there to meet my family. Best Regards to all Happiest Holidays to all at the US Embassy-Manila

    • We are glad you enjoyed reading the VISAtisfied Voyager.

      In order for us to be more responsive to your inquiry regarding your step-daughter’s visa case, we request you to send an email to IVManilaReplies@state.gov, with the applicant’s complete name, case number and current contact information clearly indicated.

  2. Hi! We received a notice last year, September 2010, from the visa center informing us that our immigrant visa was ready for processing. We were also asked to pay for the necessary fees. The last inquiry we made (thru phone), around November, after submitting all the required documents and payments, we were told that after eight weeks we will receive instructions about our appointment in the embassy and our schedule for medical exams. So after hearing that statement, we really expected that we will soon be leaving for US. After eight weeks, we made an inquiry again because we still haven’t received any instructions or notice yet. The only reason they gave us was because of retrogression. We understand retrogression but please, don’t give false hope to people. How come we were asked to pay for our visas when visas are not yet available. We’ve been waiting for seventeen years already, so waiting is not an issue. My father, the petitioner, also expected so much, wanting to be reunited with us. His heart condition even worsen. He underwent angioplasty.
    I would like to make an appeal to the people concerned about issuance of immigrant visas. Please don’t give false hope to people. Some people perceive going to US as an opportunity to have a better life but there also some people like us who perceive going to US as an opportunity to be reunited with family members. My family was never complete. My father was always working in foreign countries. Both my brother and mother are already in the US. It has been an obsession for me to be reunited with my family. I came from a broken family but my parents were reunited after 25 years.
    I hope The visa center will do their jobs well by carefully studying the applicants’ records so they’ll never get mistakes in giving wrong information. It would be better if people will be asked to pay their visas if it is already available and are really ready for processing. The process should go smoothly. And in your website, seeing the steps in visa processing, it is not stated that interview appointments and schedule for medical exams will take years of waiting when there are only two steps left to comply.
    I’m sorry to inform you, but we are really disappointed with the system that you are implementing about visa processing right now. During the time of my brother, it only took him six months, then he left already, same with my mother.
    I hope the visa center will improve whatever needs to improve with their system. There are a lot of sad stories I heard about people affected with retrogression. I am hoping that this message will reach the visa center. Because their email for visa inquiries is not functioning well also. Even if you already have given the required information, they will still reply asking you for the required information and not being able to answer your inquiry or give useful information.

    Sincerely,

    Jennie Tamayo

    • We understand your desire to be issued an immigrant visa immediately and join your family in the U.S. However, U.S. immigration law requires that immigrant visa numbers be made available strictly in order of priority date. There is no provision within the law that would allow the numerical limitation to be waived in any individual’s case, regardless of the circumstances.

      Unfortunately, there is no way we can reliably predict the movement of the cutoff dates. When the demand for immigrant visas exceeds the annual per-country limitation, the cutoff dates may advance slowly, remain at a standstill, regress or even become completely unavailable from month to month.

      Non-current petitions are stored at the State Department’s National Visa Center (NVC) for safekeeping and pre-processing, including collection of fees. NVC would start pre-processing the case when the priority date is close to becoming current and notifies the applicant.

      However, the availability of visa numbers may vary from month to month so that by the time an applicant responds or submits required documentation to the NVC, visa numbers may become unavailable for use. Once the priority date becomes current again for processing and the case becomes documentarily qualified, NVC will forward the case to Embassy Manila. We will begin processing the case as soon as the visa petition is received from NVC.

      Written inquiries, changes of address or with other personal circumstances of either the applicant or petitioner should be sent and reported to NVC at 31 Rochester Ave., Suite 200, Portsmouth, NH 03801-2915 (Attn: WC). Forms, documents, and photographs should be sent to: 31 Rochester Ave. Suite 100, Portsmouth, NH 03801-2914 (Attn: CMR). NVC’s telephone number is (603) 334-0700. Public inquiries can also be sent by email at NVCInquiry@state.gov.

      Meanwhile, you or the petitioner may visit the State Department’s website at http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_1360.html for information on the movement of priority dates and visa availability.

      We hope this information is helpful to you.

  3. Hello Jennie,
    Like me I was also affected with retrogression the NVC had told me to process and pay my IV application last February 2010 we pay and submitted all my documents but due to the retrogression my priority date gone back for almost two years so I wAited again for my priorit date. In short was scheduled an interview last October 18, 2011 after the interview I was under to a 221g lacking documents..patiently waited for my visa and just this afternoon I received my VISA.

  4. Hi,
    This is to acknowledge my receipt of my passport and K1 visa on December 24, 2011.
    I want to find out if i can request an extension of my K1 visa on the ground that i am currently enrolled at Shalom studying caregiver course. My course will be done/end sometime May of 2012. I will secure the corresponding school certificate to that effect.

    • Unfortunately we cannot extend the validity of an issued visa. Once an applicant has been issued an immigrant visa, he/she must enter the United States within the validity period of the visa. However, we are able to replace an expired visa if the applicant is able to demonstrate that the inability to use the visa was due to circumstances beyond his/her control.

      If you are unable to use the visa within the validity date, you must surrender the expired visa to the Embassy’s Immigrant Visa Branch Check-in Counter (Window 38) on any workday between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., together with a letter addressed to the Consular Officer explaining the reason for your inability to use the visa and the intended departure date for the United States.

      All appropriate fees would be charged anew if you are determined to be eligible for a replacement visa. We will also require you to update any expired documents (medical examination, police clearances, visa photos, etc.) and complete a new set of application forms (DS-156, DS-156K, and DS-157).

  5. Hi,
    This is to acknowledge my receipt of my passport and K1 visa on December 24, 2011.
    I want to find out if i can request an extension of my K1 visa on the ground that i am currently enrolled at Shalom studying caregiver course. My K1 visa will expire on April 17, 2012 and my course will be done/end sometime May of 2012. I will secure the corresponding school certificate to that effect.
    What are the procedure to file a request and is there any corresponding fee?

    Thank you and Happy Holidays!

    • Unfortunately we cannot extend the validity of an issued visa. Once an applicant has been issued an immigrant visa, he/she must enter the United States within the validity period of the visa. However, we are able to replace an expired visa if the applicant is able to demonstrate that the inability to use the visa was due to circumstances beyond his/her control.

      The applicant must surrender the expired visa to the Embassy’s Immigrant Visa Branch Check-in Counter (Window 38) on any workday between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., together with a letter addressed to the Consular Officer explaining the reason for his/her inability to use the visa and the intended departure date for the United States.

      All appropriate fees would be charged anew if the applicant is determined to be eligible for a replacement visa. We will also require the applicant to update any expired documents (medical examination, police clearances, visa photos, etc.) and complete a new set of application forms.

      • Thank you for your quick response and valuable information.
        My visa expires on april 17, 2012, and i intend to travel April 15, 2012. When is the 90 days will take effect? Is the 90 days given to me to marry my petitioner will only take effect from the date of my admission into the united states? And what if were not able to comply the given 90 days to get marry i should of be back home even my visa already expired without any penalties?
        Hope you could help me enlighten
        Thank you

        Truly yours,
        marithes hervas

        • The K1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa (NIV) that allows you to travel to the United States to marry your petitioner within 90 days upon your admission to the United States. Once you marry, you need to apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to adjust your status to a legal permanent resident (LPR). Traveling outside of the U.S. while an adjustment of status application is pending may have severe consequences. You should contact the USCIS before you travel to determine if you require a travel document to re-enter the U.S. It is important that you obtain proper documentation before leaving the United States, even on an emergency. The K1 visa is valid for only a single entry into the U.S.

          If you and your petitioner decide not to marry within the prescribed period, you must return to the Philippines.

  6. I was affected with retrogression the NVC had told me to process and pay my IV application last March 2010 So pay and submitted all my documents but due to the retrogression my priority date has gone back for two years so I wait for my priorit date. i was scheduled an interview last October 20, 2011 after the interview I was under to a 221g lacking documents..patiently waited for my visa and just this afternoon I received my VISA. yes

  7. Hi!
    I just got a call today saying that our Visas are ready for printing, they were asking if I can pick it up but due to work I asked if they can mail it to me, she said they will and also informed me that I should be making travel arrangements already since our medical exams will expire on the 26th of this month. Now my problem is she said it will take three days to get to me so basically if it 3 business days it will be here by the 25th so there is not much time. What if we can’t make it before the 26th and we have to repeat our medical exams again. Can you tell me what is the process for that? Do we submit the sealed package to Saint Luke’s personnel together with our new medical results or are we the ones to personally submit it to the US Embassy?

    What is the shortest validity for K1 and K2 Visas/

    Thank you,
    Xenia

    • Hi Xenia. If in any case you will be unable to use your visas within its validity period, you must surrender the expired visas to Immigrant Visa Check-in Counter on any workday between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. together with a letter addressed to the consular officer explaining the reason for your inability to use the visa and the intended departure date for the U.S., with your name and case number clearly indicated
      If you are determined to be eligible for a replacement visa, you should follow all interview preparation instructions for a fiancé visa applicants located on the Embassy’s website at http://manila.usembassy.gov/wwwh3238.html.
      The instructions contained at the website will provide you the required documentation and procedures to follow prior to the interview date. You may also download the necessary forms from our website, as needed.
      Should you have further queries, you may also call the Immigrant Visa Unit’s inquiry line at 301-2000, extension 5184 or 5185.

  8. Hello!! I just got a visa for K1 5days ago and when I checked all the info on my visa, I noticed that my fiance’s address was spelled incorrect, what will I do? it says return to the US embassy if found any errors, shall I go to US embassy for that matter.. help me out pls.. thank you :)

    • Thank you for posting a comment on VISAtisfied Voyager, U.S. Embassy Manila’s visa blog.

      There is no need to come to the Embassy to correct a typographical error on the petitioner’s address. We wish to assure you that this will not pose any problem when you enter the United States. This detail may be corrected when you arrive at the U.S. Port of Entry.

  9. I have an scheduled interview at Abu Dhabi for a non-immigrant visa (visit) but after paying for the application fees, i have noticed that i had a typo error, instead of Jan 1,1972, I have typed it to Dec 1,1971.

    The scheduled interview is on 9th of July and i only have 1 day to correct it., what should i do? Please advise.

    Thank you and i am looking forward on you response.

    Best regards,
    Yet

  10. I recieved an immigrant visa which expired the day i recieved it which was a day before my 21st. birthday. I’ve been seeking advise as to what to do concerning whether or not i can be admitted at a port of entry and me being denied processing. Its only been a day….what should i do>?
    please..

    • Thank you for your interest in the VISAtisified Voyager. For specific information regarding your visa case, we request you to send an email to IVManilaReplies@state.gov, with your complete name, 10-digit visa case number, email address and current landline/mobile phone numbers clearly indicated.

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