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Frequently Asked Questions about Immigrant Visas
June 23, 2022

This frequently asked questions page is meant to address the most common questions applicants have during consular processing. Every case is different, and individual circumstances may result in different outcomes. Additionally, this page is dynamic and will be updated to reflect changes to applicable laws and policies. Applicants should regularly check this page and the Immigrant Visa Operations in Ciudad Juarez webpage to be aware of current information.

  • My case is pending with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the National Visa Center (NVC). How do I get a status update?
    • For questions about cases at USCIS, applicants should contact that agency through its case inquiry portal. Questions for NVC should be directed to its online portal.

  • What should I expect during my immigrant visa interview?
    • The purpose of the immigrant visa interview is to determine whether the applicant meets the qualifications for an immigrant visa under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and its enacting regulations. The INA (8 U.S.C. § 1361) requires that the applicant demonstrate their qualifications for an immigrant visa.
    • During the consular processing interview, the applicant will be asked questions about their relationship to the petitioner, legal history, prior presence in the United States, and other questions to determine whether they meet the requirements to receive an immigrant visa. At the conclusion of all interviews, the applicant is advised whether the visa has been approved or refused. When a visa is refused, the applicant will receive information about the nature of the refusal, as well as any relief that can be sought such as a waiver. Applicants who are refused at the conclusion of their consular processing interview may not challenge the determination at that time and must follow the instructions given during their consular processing interview.
  • Is the Consulate General implementing any COVID-19 mitigation measures during interviews?
    • The Consulate General has implemented a robust protocol to ensure appropriate health and safety measures for the protection of visitors and staff members:
      • Masks are required while inside Consulate compound buildings. Applicants must wear a mask that fully covers their mouth and nose at all times.
      • Only visa applicants are allowed inside the Consulate. Parents and guardians are allowed to accompany minor children, and a family member is permitted to accompany applicants with mobility issues.
      • Once inside Consulate compound buildings, please maintain an appropriate social distance from other visa applicants.
      • Hand sanitizer is available throughout the areas where applicants will be waiting for their interviews.
      • Anyone experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 is prohibited from entering the Consulate General. For more information about the symptoms associated with COVID-19, please review the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Applicant who must miss an appointment because of illness will be permitted to reschedule that appointment by contacting the Consulate through the public inquiry form.
      • The two medical exam clinics located near the Consulate General, Clínica Médica Internacional and Servicios Médicos de la Frontera, have enclosed, climate-controlled waiting rooms where family members and friends can safely and comfortably wait while applicants conclude their visa interviews. Otherwise, please ask your family to wait in your hotel, guesthouse, or elsewhere in the city. Do not congregate on the sidewalks outside the Consulate General building.
      • For more information about COVID mitigation measures in the state of Chihuahua, visit the Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores website.
  • What are the COVID-19 vaccine requirements for immigrant visa applicants?
    • Effective October 1, 2021, the CDC Technical Instructions for panel physicians require all immigrant visa applicants to receive a full COVID-19 vaccine series as part of their medical exam prior to being issued a visa. The CDC requires the COVID-19 vaccine to be approved through either the World Health Organization or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Blanket waivers for the COVID vaccination will be applied in countries where the vaccine is not routinely available or when the vaccine is not age appropriate.  COVID vaccination is routinely available for individuals of 18 years of age in Mexico. Consequently, there is no blanket waiver available for individuals over 18.
    • The Department of State encourages all immigrant visa applicants to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary delays in their visa processing. An immigrant visa cannot be issued unless you are fully vaccinated or have a blanket waiver from the panel physician. Additionally, if you present for your medical exam without a completed vaccine series, it may affect your eligibility for a visa (which may affect the validity of an existing I-601A Provisional Waiver of Unlawful Presence).
  • If I am traveling from outside Ciudad Juarez, how long will I have to remain in the city?
    • Please plan to remain in Ciudad Juarez until the adjudication process is fully completed. All applicants can expect their immigrant visa interview process to last for three to five business days. Applicants must attend a medical exam at an authorized clinic and a “biometrics” appointment at the ASC. In addition to an appointment at an approved medical clinic and ASC, all applicants have two separate appearances at the Consulate General, spread over two business days.  It is not possible to adjust or accelerate this process to accommodate travel plans.
  • The U.S. Consulate General Ciudad Juarez has asked me to bring documents to my interview, but I only have copies of those documents. Are copies sufficient?
    • Visa applicants must bring the original or certified copy version of all civil documents submitted to the National Visa Center. Failure to bring all required documents can delay visa issuance. For information on document requirements, please visit travel.state.gov.
  • How do I contact the U.S. Consulate General Ciudad Juarez about my case?
    • Applicants and attorneys must use the online portal to submit inquiries to the Consulate General. We will respond to all inquiries in the order they are received. Please do not resubmit your inquiry, as this may delay our response. Successfully generated inquiries will result in the following confirmation page:

      • Applicants will not receive a confirmation email.
      • While the Consulate General does respond to written inquiries sent through mail, processing times are substantially longer for written correspondence.
      • In order to communicate with an applicant’s legal counsel, the applicant must have submitted Form G-28 to the Consulate General authorizing communication with counsel. Attorneys who are not covered under an existing Form G-28 should submit an inquiry using the legal inquiry form with a request for instructions on how to electronically submit this document.
      • For questions regarding pre-interview appointments for the collection of biometric information like fingerprints, you may contact the Applicant Service Center (ASC), also referred to as Centro de Atención a Solicitantes (CAS). The ASC is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., and the telephone number is +52-656-344-3003.
  • I missed my immigrant visa interview. May I reschedule my interview?
    • To reschedule an appointment, please contact the Consulate General through the online public inquiry portal. Appointment scheduling is subject to availability, and therefore we cannot guarantee a precise timeframe for when the new appointment will be scheduled.
  • How can I request an expedited appointment?
    • Emergency appointment criteria are the same for cases at the NVC or the Consulate General.
    • For cases at the NVC, applicants or attorneys should use the form here .
    • For cases already transferred to the U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez, applicants should use the form here .
    • For cases already transferred to the U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez, attorneys should use the form here .
    • Please include a contact email address. Be prepared to provide evidence of essential employment, medical diagnoses, approved I-601A, I-601, or I-212 waiver receipts, or other documents relevant to your case, in PDF format, upon email request.
    • If your request for emergency processing is approved, the Consulate General will contact you by email, phone, or physical mail to schedule an interview appointment.
  • What is the status of my application?
  • I was asked to submit additional documents after my interview. How do I submit those documents?
    • Whenever an applicant must submit additional documents, they will receive an instruction letter from the consular officer at the conclusion of their interview with directions about how to submit those documents. Applicants must follow those directions, which are specific to their case.
    • For more information, you may contact the CAS at:
      • CAS Ciudad Juárez
        Applicant Service Center
        Av. Paseo de la Victoria 3640 L-2,
        Col. Partido Senecú,
        Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, CP 32543
        +52 656 344 3003
        Monday to Friday – 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, Saturday – 8:00 am to 3:00 pm
  • I was given a refusal letter at my interview saying my case was undergoing administrative processing. What happens now?
    • There is no specific timeframe for the resolution of administrative processing. Applicants who were given instructions to provide additional information should do so immediately because this information is necessary to continue processing. Failure to provide requested information will delay the process. For more information on administrative processing, visit travel.state.gov.
    • Most cases undergoing administrative processing reach resolution in a few months, though there is no guaranteed timeline. If your case has been in administrative processing for more than six months, you may contact the Consulate General regarding the status of your case.
  • At my interview, I was told I need a waiver or permission to reapply? What is the process of applying for waiver or permission to reapply?
    • USCIS regulations govern the process of seeking waivers and permission to reapply, and the State Department does not decide whether to grant or deny applications for these types of relief. For more information, please visit USCIS’s I-601 and I-212 informational pages.
  • At U.S. Consulate General Ciudad Juarez’s request, I sent documents in support of my immigrant visa application. Why have I not received a status update?
    • The applicant will receive an update on the status of their case via email and courier service once the application has been reviewed by a consular officer. Applicants may check the status of their case at the Consular Electronic Application Center.
  • I am a lawful permanent resident who has been outside the U.S. for more than a year. How do I return to the United States?