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Immigrant Visas: Family-Based Immigration

The Interview

Applicants for immigrant visas are now required to be fully vaccinated for Covid-19 in order to immigrate to the US.  Only vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use or licensed or authorized for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration are acceptable; at the current time, Sputnik-V is not on the list of WHO-approved vaccines.  Please see the WHO website for more information.  Approved vaccines are available in Kyrgyzstan.  During the medical exam, you are required to show proof of prior vaccination or receive the vaccine from the panel physician.  Please discuss any concerns you have with the panel physician at the time of the medical exam.  If you are eligible to receive the vaccine and you do not, you will not be admitted to the United States.  Please see the CDC website for more information.

Immigrant visa issuance involves the following steps:

Step 1 – Filing the Petition

U.S. citizen or U.S legal permanent resident living in the U.S. territory files an I-130 (PDF 2 MB) petition for his/her alien relative at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office with jurisdiction over the petitioner’s residence.

Petitioners residing in Kyrgyzstan are no longer able to routinely file Forms I-130 (PDF 2 MB), Petitions for Alien Relative, with U.S. Embassy in Bishkek. Petitioners residing in Kyrgyzstan are required to file their Forms I-130 (PDF 2 MB) by mail with the USCIS Chicago lockbox. The Consular Section in Bishkek is only able to accept and process Forms I-130 (PDF 2 MB) in exceptional circumstances.

USCIS Chicago Lockbox addresses for regular mail deliveries:

P.O. Box 804625
Chicago, IL 60680-4107

USCIS Chicago Lockbox address for express mail and courier deliveries:

Attn: I-130
131 South Dearborn-3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517

For additional information about how to file a Form I-130 (PDF 201K) with the USCIS Chicago lockbox, please see the USCIS website or contact USCIS by phone at 1-800-375-5283.

Exceptional Filing at U.S. Embassies or Consulates without a USCIS Field Office:

Petitioners, who do not reside in a country with a USCIS field office, but who believe that their situation merits an exception, may request an exception to allow the Consular Section at the Embassy to accept the filing. Each request for an exception will be evaluated individually.

A petitioner seeking to file a Form I-130 (PDF 2 MB) in the Consular Section in Bishkek should contact the Consular Section (BishkekIV@state.gov) to request consideration of the request for exception and explain the circumstances in detail. The Consular Section will then relay the request for an exception to USCIS. The determination of whether the case presents exceptional circumstances that warrant an exception to the general filing process will be made by USCIS.  For more detailed information please visit the USCIS website.

Step 2 – National Visa Center

When the petition is approved by USCIS office in the U.S., it is sent to National Visa Center (NVC) for administrative processing. NVC assigns the case number and schedules the appointment date for the immigrant visa interview in the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek. To inquire into the status of your case you may send an email to nvcinquiry@state.gov or call + 1 603 334 0700.

Step 3 – Interview

In order to prepare for the interview the applicant must gather required documents and pass the medical examination. Please see detailed instructions here:

Visa Categories

A beneficiary’s immigrant visa category is determined by the type of petition filed on his/her behalf with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  In most cases, the visa category directly results from the type of relationship between the petitioner and beneficiary.  While many immigrant visa categories are immediately available, others are numerically limited by law, meaning that beneficiaries of these visa types must often wait some period of time before their petitions are eligible for processing.  Numerically Limited Visas cannot be processed until their priority date is current.

Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are eligible to interview for visas immediately after the petitions filed on their behalf are approved by USCIS and transferred to the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek.  An “immediate relative” is defined as a parent, spouse, or child (meaning both unmarried and under 21 years of age) of a U.S. citizen.  Each immediate relative must have a separate petition filed on his/her behalf.

General Categories

U.S. immigration law provides four general categories for the issuance of immigrant visas:

  • Family sponsored immigrants – a spouse, parent, minor child, son/daughter, sibling of a U.S. citizen; and spouse, minor child and son/daughter of U.S. legal permanent resident;
  • Employment based immigrants – workers that meet certain employment criteria;
  • Diversity Immigrant Visa Program – known as the “green card” lottery;
  • Fiancé/fiancée – visa issued for entering the U.S. in order to marry.

For more detailed information on different visa categories please visit U.S. Department of State website or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

Refugee and asylum cases are processed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

Affidavit of Support

The petitioner must accept legal responsibility for financially supporting their beneficiaries.  Petitioners accept this responsibility and become a beneficiary’s sponsor by completing and signing a legal document called an Affidavit of Support, usually a Form I-864.

Petitioners of K visas should submit a Form I-134 (PDF 461 KB), instead of an Form I-864.

To qualify as a sponsor, you must be at least 18 years old and either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident.  You must have a domicile either in the United States or a territory or possession of the United States.  In general, this requirement means you must actually live in the United States, or a territory or possession of the United States, in order to be a sponsor.  If you live abroad, you may still be eligible to be a sponsor if you can show that your residence abroad is temporary, and that you have maintained a domicile in the United States.

DNA Testing Process

The Consular Officer may suggest DNA testing at time of the interview if the beneficiaries, who claim a biological relationship to the petitioner, but are unable to establish a relationship as required by U.S. law via sufficient and acceptable documentation.

1.The petitioner selects a DNA lab from an AABB accredited lab. Costs to be paid by the petitioner.

2.The selected DNA lab in the U.S. sends the DNA testing kit directly to U.S. Embassy Bishkek. The address is as follows:
U.S. Embassy Bishkek
Attn: Consular Section
171 Chybgyz Aitmatov Ave
Bishkek 720016
Kyrgyz Republic
+996 312 597 000

3.U.S. Embassy Bishkek contacts applicant (beneficiary), by e-mail or telephone, to schedule an appointment for DNA sample collection.

4.On the appointment day, the applicant (beneficiary) must bring: (a) his/her passport or photo I.D. (if you do not have a photo I.D., please inform the Consular Section); (b) one recent passport size photo (2″x2″); and (c) sufficient funds to pay the lab technician who performs the DNA testing.

5.U.S Embassy Bishkek sends the DNA sample collected on the appointment date directly to the DNA lab in the U.S. for testing.

6.The DNA lab conducts the test and sends the results directly to U.S. Embassy Bishkek.

7.U.S. Embassy Bishkek contacts applicant (beneficiary) by e-mail or telephone and informs him/her when to return to the Embassy for results of the test and next steps in the case.

Medical Examination for Immigrant Visas

Before the issuance of an immigrant visa, every applicant, regardless of age, must undergo a medical examination. The examination must be conducted by a doctor recognized by the Consular Section. Currently, there are two clinics in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan authorized to conduct medical examinations.
(List is provided in alphabetical order)

Multispecialty Medical center
5/3 Suerkulov str.,Bishkek,Kyrgyzstan
email: dmp.bishkek@gmail.com
website: http://www.insult.kg/

Diagnostic and Consultative Medical Center
46 Orozbekov str.,Bishkek,Kyrgyzstan
e-mail: neomed@neomed.kg; savchenko1@mail.ru
website: www.neomed.kg

All immigrant visa applicants, including adoptive parents, must use these clinics. Examination costs must be paid by the applicant, in addition to the visa fees.
Please contact a clinic to schedule an appointment as early as possible or at least two weeks prior to the interview date. You can find your interview date in the appointment letter you received from the National Visa Center or from U.S. Embassy, Bishkek (except adoptive parents).
Please bring the following to the medical exam:

  • your visa appointment letter
  • passport
  • photograph 3 x 4 cm
  • your vaccination records
  • appropriate fees (see specific information for each clinic)

Once the exam and laboratory tests are completed, Panel Physicians will provide the results directly to the US Embassy Bishkek Consular section.
Note: K-1 and K-2 visa applicants are not required to submit proof of vaccinations or to undergo any vaccinations until they adjust status with USCIS. However, applicants may wish to consider carrying their vaccination records with them to the United States to facilitate the process of adjusting their status.
Adoptive parents applying for their adopted children (IR3-IR4 visas), should contact the clinic as early as possible for an appointment.
For more information on vaccination requirements, please visit the Department of State’s page on vaccinations.

Priority date

For numerically limited visas, petitions are processed in the order of their priority dates. For family-based visas, the priority date is the date when the petition was filed at a USCIS office or, if permissible, submitted to an Embassy abroad. For employment-based visas, the priority date is typically the date the labor certification application was received by the U.S. Department of Labor.

To check the current priority days for each visa category, please click here.

Case Status

At the end of your immigrant visa interview, the consular officer will inform you whether your visa application is approved or denied.

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 the individual circumstances of each case. You can check the status of your visa application on ceac.state.gov.

If your visa has been denied, you may find useful information on Ineligibilities and Waivers on usvisas.state.gov.

After the Interview

If your visa has been approved, you will be informed how and when your passport and visa will be returned to you. Carefully review After the Interview on usvisas.state.gov to learn what to do when you receive your visa, entering the United States, paying the USCIS Immigrant Fee, and other important information.

  1. Visa: If approved, the visa will be ready on the next Thursday at 2:00 PM. You must pick up your passport and document envelope inside the Consular waiting room. Upon arrival, please take a number and have a seat.
  2. Visa: If NOT approved: If you failed to provide all the required documents or the Consul asked you to bring additional documents, you may submit the documents in the box located at the Consular Entrance of U.S. Embassy Bishkek at any time during normal Embassy operating hours.