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What documentation do I need to get a work visa?

Coming to the United States to begin a new job can be exciting and frightening. In addition to starting new employment, you will be entering a new culture with many unfamiliar practices and customs. Nevertheless, you may be looking forward to the challenges, and perhaps obtaining your visa to work in the U.S. is something you have wanted to do for a long time.

A limited number of work visas are available each year, and your prospective employer may have made arrangements for you to begin your new position in Mississippi as soon as possible. One of the most frustrating things that can happen during the process of attempting to obtain a work visa is to learn that you have not included the correct documentation with your application. Failing to include all documents the National Visa Center requests, completed thoroughly and accurately, may mean delays in your visa process.

Your visa file

Immigration authorities begin assembling a file on you as soon as your prospective employer files Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. Your employer may submit this petition on your behalf after he or she obtains labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. After your petition receives approval, the following documents will be an important part of your file:

  • Form DS-261, Choice of Address and Agent, completed online if required
  • Your visa application, Form DS-260
  • A copy of your passport with valid dates according to NVC instructions
  • Two current color photos of your full face, 2×2 inches
  • Copies of any civil documents the NVC requests, such as birth certificate or marriage license
  • Proof that you will be able to support yourself financially while in the U.S.
  • Medical records from an exam performed by an authorized physician
  • Proof that you received the required vaccinations
  • Any other forms or documents NVC may request

Certain documents may require translation, and you should always send copies but bring the originals to your visa interview. It is important that you send all your documents at once in a single packet. If you are missing any required documents, your visa process may experience delays.

Throughout the process of completing and gathering records, you would greatly benefit from the assistance of an attorney who has experience in a wide range of immigration issues. Once all of your documentation is in your file, NVC will contact you and your attorney with a date for your interview.