Frequently Asked Questions

Anyone wishing to permanently live or work in the United States requires an immigrant visa to travel to the United States. See our Immigrant Visa page for more information on who may qualify for immigration and application procedures.

All immigrant visa inquiries must be directed to the Immigrant Visa Unit. Because of U.S. privacy laws, only the petitioner or the applicant may be given information regarding their case. The Immigrant Visa Unit may be reached through our web-based e-mail submission system.

You or the petitioner may contact the National Visa Center in order to obtain your case number. It should generally begin with “ISL” and then be followed by 10-digits. We may be able to assist as well if you or your petitioner sends us an email.

You must file your petition with your local U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) office or, if you are currently abroad in Pakistan, please send it to the appropriate lockbox address in the United States.  For more information, please visit this website.

Your priority date is the date on which your petition was filed with USCIS. The link below indicates which priority dates are “current,” meaning that visas are available. If your priority date is earlier than the date listed below for your visa classification, then your case is considered “current.” The most up-to-date priority date table can be found at our website.

You should not believe any e-mail claiming that you have won or been selected to apply for a visa under the Diversity Visa program. In some cases, these malicious e-mails are sent by criminal operators who seek to defraud individuals. The State Department has dedicated units that work with Internet providers to try to stop these scams.

Please consult this State Department website for further information about internet scams.

Please also note that Pakistan does not qualify for the diversity lottery because of the large number of Pakistan nationals who have immigrated to the United States during the last five years. The U.S. Diversity Lottery was established for individuals from countries which are under-represented in the United States. For more information please visit our Diversity Visa Website.

The National Visa Center (NVC) schedules 90% of the immigrant visa cases processed at the U.S. Embassy, Islamabad.  Once your immigrant visa case is current, NVC will contact you or your petitioner to request fee payment, visa photos, the I-864 Affidavit of Support, and other required documents (DS-260, birth certificates, and possibly marriage, divorce and/or death certificates). Once you submit these documents to NVC, you will get an appointment letter and your immigrant visa file will be sent to the U.S. Embassy, Islamabad for processing. You will need to come to the embassy on the scheduled interview date bringing your passport(s), medical report(s) and any other documentation mentioned in your interview letter.

The U.S. Embassy, Islamabad will not send an interview letter if the case is scheduled by the National Visa Center.

Once your I-130 petition has been approved, you are advised to proceed with the final interview for the immigrant visa within the 6 months before you intend to immigrate to the United States. If you do not intend to immigrate to the United States within the next 6 months, you should NOT proceed with the final interview for the immigrant visa. This is because legal permanent residents (LPRs, or green card holders) lose their resident status if you remain outside of the United States for a year or more. In short, legal permanent resident status is for people who are resident in the United States.

Please note that if you have not applied for an immigrant visa in the year since your I-130 petition has been approved, your petition may be terminated.  However, you can keep your I-130 active indefinitely by contacting us at least once a year.  By sending us a letter updating your contact information or to contact our office via email to keep the case current stating that you still intend to immigrate at some point in the future, we will reset the 1-year clock.

You must send a clear copy of the petitioner’s Naturalization Certificate or U.S. passport to the office where your petition is located. Your petition may be with USCIS, at the National Visa Center, or at the Embassy. See our Contact us page for the proper contact information.

Please wait patiently. The applicant or petitioner should receive an instruction packet 3.5 after the Embassy has reviewed the file. This process may take 2-3 weeks. The instruction packet 3.5 will be sent to the applicant at his/her mailing address. If you do not receive your packet 3.5 after one month, please write to us by using our web-based e-mail submission form stating your ISL case number.

Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a consular officer. Applicants are advised of this requirement when they apply. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview. When administrative processing is required, the timing will vary based on individual circumstances of each case. Once the administrative processing has been completed, we will contact you immediately to let you know and will ask you to return your passport if we have not retained it. Once we have printed your visa, we will return your passport along with the visa packet via our approved courier service (American Express).  If it has been more than 6 months since your interview, please e-mail us through our web-based e-mail submission form with your interview date and case number.

At the time of your interview, you received a temporary refusal sheet(221g) with instructions telling you what to do.  In most cases, applicants should obtain the requested documents or photographs and send them to the U.S. Embassy through our approved courier service.

The first step is for petitioner to submit his/her DNA samples at one of the labs listed on this website.

The lab will then send a DNA kit to the Embassy. Upon receiving the DNA kit, we will contact you to schedule your appointment at the Embassy for a DNA test. This process may take several months to complete.

Your petition has been returned to the USCIS office with the recommendation for revocation. This means that the consular officer who interviewed you had concerns about the relationship that was the basis for the petition. A final determination on your case will be made by the USCIS office in the United States.

Questions about a case that has been returned with a request for revocation should be referred to the USCIS office where the petition was originally filed. No appeal or reinstatement request will be processed at the U.S. Embassy, Islamabad.

If you have been found ineligible, the consular section cannot issue you a visa. Please click on the following link for more information on what the new waiver procedure is as of June 4, 2012: Please note that after June 4, 2012, applicants will no longer be able to submit their waivers to the U.S. Embassy / Consulates.

If there is a mistake on your visa, please contact the Immigrant Visa Section by submitting a web based inquiry and describe the problem. Once our office informs you that there is something that needs to be corrected, please return your passport and visa packet to our office by sending it to us through the courier service. Once we have your corrected visa, we will send your passport and visa packet back to you through the courier service with a new visa.

A health certificate is required to bring a dog or cat into the U.S. Such a certificate is usually required by the airlines and the airlines should be contacted concerning any time limitations or other details. Pets may need to be quarantined and have a rabies vaccination. Please see Customs and Border Protection website and a document for more information.

There is no limit on the amount of money which may be taken in or out of the United States. However, any amount in excess of $10,000 in currency, travelers checks or negotiable instruments, must be declared to the United States Customs at the time of arrival in or departure from the United States. Please see Customs and Border Protection websitefor more information.

Upon entering the United States on an immigrant visa you will require no further authorization from the Department of Homeland Security to take up employment. If you are seeking to immigrate on the basis of an offer of employment, you will require a U.S. based employer to file an immigrant visa petition on your behalf with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

By law, each immigrant or refugee admitted to the United States must obtain a Social Security number. Social Security numbers are required to work in the United States, to open a bank account, to pay taxes, and for many other purposes. An application for a Social Security number should be made to the local Social Security Office in the area where the immigrant will reside after their arrival in the United States. See the website of the Social Security Administration for further information.

An immigrant can become an American citizen through naturalization by living in the United States for a specified period, usually five years (three years if married to a U.S. citizen) and passing a naturalization examination.  However, there is no requirement that immigrants become citizens as they are free to live in the United States as long as they wish and  abide by the laws of the United States, which apply to citizens and aliens alike.