The process of obtaining an immigrant visa is complicated and can take significant time to complete.
In general, the process starts with the filing of a petition by the applicant’s family member or prospective employer. In almost all cases the petition must be filed in the U.S. with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Once approved, petitions filed with USCIS will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, which will contact the petitioner and/or applicant with required forms and further instructions. Once NVC has received all the required forms and documents, it will schedule an interview appointment for the applicant at the Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. Until an appointment is scheduled, the Embassy will not have any information on a case and will not be able to answer any questions about it.
If a petition is accepted and approved at the Embassy, we will provide the applicant and petitioner the required forms and full instructions on applying for the visa.
When filing a petition, most applicants will need the following. (We are providing this list only to give applicants a general idea of what to expect and to help them prepare. Please do not send anything to NVC until requested.)
- Form DS-260
- Two copies of Form G-325A (PDF – 513 KB)
- Review the Photo Examples to see examples of acceptable and unacceptable photos.
- Form I-864 Affidavit of Support from the petitioner, with the petitioner’s most recent U.S. federal tax return. There are several versions of the I-864; do not complete until NVC or the Embassy tells you which one is appropriate for your case. Further information can be obtained here.
- Originals and photocopies of civil documents such as birth and marriage certificates. See here for details on documents which must be provided.
- For applicants 16 years and older, a police certificate from any country where the applicant resided for more than one year. Information on how to obtain a Malaysian police certificate is available here. Information on obtaining police certificates from other countries can be found here.
- All applicants must undergo a medical exam by an Embassy-approved physician approved by the Embassy. Information on the medical exam can be found here. You will receive instructions on how to make an exam appointment from NVC or the Embassy. Do not try to make an appointment before receiving these instructions.
Other items may be required in specific cases.
Effective August 15, 2011, petitioners residing overseas will no longer be able to routinely file Forms I-130, Petitions for Alien Relative, with U.S. Embassies and Consulates except in locations where U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has a public counter presence within the Embassy or Consulate. Petitioners residing overseas in countries where USCIS does not have a public counter presence, such as Malaysia, will be required, starting August 15, 2011, to file their Forms I-130 by mail with the USCIS Chicago lockbox. U.S. Embassies and Consulates that do not have a USCIS presence will only be able to accept and process Forms I-130 in exceptional circumstances, as outlined below.
Forms I-130 that were properly filed at an Embassy or Consulate overseas where USCIS does not have a presence before August 15, 2011, will not be affected by this change.
Filing Instructions beginning August 15, 2011:
Beginning August 15, 2011, petitioners residing overseas who wish to file a Form I-130, petition for Alien Relative, may do so as follows:
– If petitioner resides in a country where USCIS does not have a public counter presence, the Form I-130 must be filed with the USCIS Chicago Lockbox at one of the addresses below, unless the petitioner requests and is granted an exception based on one of the criteria described below:
USCIS Chicago Lockbox addresses for regular mail deliveries:
USCIS P.O. Box 804625 Chicago, IL 60680-4107
USCIS Chicago Lockbox address for express mail and courier deliveries:
USCIS Attn: I-130 131 South Dearborn-3rd Floor Chicago, IL 60603-5517
For additional information about how to file a Form I-130 with the USCIS Chicago lockbox, please see the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov or contact USCIS by phone at 1-800-375-5283.
Exceptional Filing at U.S. Embassies or Consulates without a USCIS Field Office:
Beginning August 15, 2011, 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 or Consulate to accept the filing. Each request for an exception will be evaluated individually.
A petitioner seeking to file a Form I-130 at the U.S. Embassy in Malaysia should contact the Consular Section 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 the USCIS field office with jurisdiction over the Embassy or Consulate. The determination of whether the case presents exceptional circumstances that warrant an exception to the general filing process will be made by USCIS.