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Entering the US with an Immigrant Visa

Entering the US with an Immigrant Visa

Just a couple more steps in your pursuit of a green card! The process might seem stressful, but here are some general guidelines for what to do and expect when entering the US under an immigrant visa.  After gathering all the necessary documents, there are two inspections that need to be completed. 

Preparations for entering the US

  • It is crucial that all documents are in order prior to travel. All documents should be readily available in hand (not in a checked suitcase) to provide for the officials at the port of entry. These documents should include:
    • Immigrant visa and passport
    • X-ray and medical reports
    • The packet received after the immigration interview in its sealed file
  • Make sure you are entering the US before your visa expiration date.

First Inspection

  • Entering the US by plane :
    • After landing at your first destination in the US, you will find a line designated for “Permanent Residents,” or more specifically, for new permanent residents depending on the port of entry. An additional inspection by a US immigration official may take place before even getting on the plane depending on the country you are traveling from.
    • After a standard identification verification at the US Customs and Border Protection, you may proceed to the designated area for the second inspection.
  • Entering the US by land:
    • The process for entering by land will vary according to your location.
    • Upon arrival, you will likely be led to a parking area where you may undergo an additional inspection before heading to an office for the actual first inspection.

Second Inspection

  • After being directed to where you will undergo the second inspection, an official will open the sealed packet you have brought with you for review. Depending on personal conditions, you may receive extra advisories and further medical examinations
  • Most of the time here will be spent waiting, but further proceedings from here should take place with little complications.
  • Depending on your location, there will be a review of criminal history and violations in addition to this inspection in which questioning and denial of entry may take place, but if you have provided all the necessary documents and waivers for any specific information about these in your file, the review should go smoothly.

Should the series of inspections pass smoothly, you will be fingerprinted, your passport will be stamped, and you will have made a successful entry into the US as a permanent resident. A temporary printed green card will be provided until the official one is mailed to you a few weeks after.
The process may seem a little intimidating, but with a little preparation and patience, proceedings should go smoothly. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact an attorney at Sethi & Mazaheri by calling (646) 405-9856 or contact us for more information.

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