Immigrant Visas: Family-Based Immigration


We wish to provide information regarding changes in the process of submitting documents required for an immigrant visa for certain family-based cases. These changes do not apply to nonimmigrant visas (i.e., tourist, business visas, etc.).

The U.S. Department of State is transforming the immigrant visa process from a paper-based process to a largely electronic one. If you are applying for a family-based immigrant visa, you may be required to use our online Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) to submit your application and documents. The National Visa Center will send you instructions and log-in information to access the CEAC. On CEAC, you will pay your fees and complete your visa application form. After that, you will be required to scan and upload your civil and financial documents. More information is in the info box on the right side of this page.

Two groups of family-based immigrant visa categories, immediate relatives and family preference, are provided under the provisions of U.S. immigration law, specifically the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  You may wish to review our Directory of Visa Categories  on to learn more about these two categories of immigrant visas, as well as other types of immigrant visas to the United States, including our Diversity Visa Program.

To apply for an immediate relative or family preference immigrant visa, follow the steps on the Immigrant Visa Process on  Once you have completed those steps, review the instructions given to you by the National Visa Center (NVC), along with the information presented on this website, for further guidance and instructions.


As of January 1, 2022 all Immigrant Visa (IV), Diversity Visa (DV), and Fiance (K) visa applicants must register with and choose a visa pick-up option before coming to the Embassy.

We will not be able to accept your visa applications and supporting documents without proof of your registration (we will need your Unique Identification number, or UID).  For registration and selection of a passport and visa pick-up option, visit or call the information line at +48 22 307 1361 (in Europe) or (703) 988 7101 (in the United States).  Passports and visas are returned by courier; applicants may choose either Premium Delivery (for an additional fee, paid directly to the courier upon delivery to your selected location in Poland) or, at no additional charge, one of two Mail Boxes Etc. (MBE) locations (one in Warsaw and one in Krakow).

The Consular Section at U.S. Embassy Warsaw generally requires at least 3-5 business days to process a visa once it has been approved.  During this time, the applicant’s passport must remain at the Consular Section.  Please also be aware that technical and procedural concerns may require longer than the normal 3-5 days following interview to complete processing of the case.  Applicants should plan accordingly when making travel plans.  Please see which documents are required to pick up passports from an MBE location.  DO NOT visit MBE until you are notified that they have your passport ready for pick-up.

We encourage applicants not to finalize travel plans until they receive their visa and documents from the Embassy. The visa packet is a sealed big envelope containing documents, with the visa information printout attached to it. Please do not open the visa packetApplicants undergoing the new electronic process will receive only their passport with a visa in it.  Instead of an envelope containing paper documents, they will have an annotation on the visa “All Docs in CCD” indicating that all their documents are available to immigration services in electronic form.

Special Notice for Applicants from Outside Poland: 

Immigrant visa applicants from countries that need visas to enter Poland should contact Polish consular posts in their home countries at their earliest convenience and inquire about current procedures and time frames for processing applications for Polish visas.  Please bear in mind that applying for an immigrant visa at our post will require at least one trip to Poland, and in some cases multiple trips to the Embassy in Warsaw.  Please also be aware that technical and procedural concerns may require a stay longer than the normal two days in Poland to complete processing of your case.  You should plan accordingly when applying for a Polish visa.


Applicants issued immigrant visas overseas must pay a $220.00 USCIS Immigrant Fee before traveling to the United States.  Only prospective adoptive parents whose child(ren) is/are entering the United States under either the Orphan or Hague Process, Iraqi and Afghan special immigrants who were employed by the U.S. government, returning residents, and those issued K visas are exempt from the fee.  The below USCIS website has more details on the immigrant fee, including contact information for USCIS, if there are further questions:

Please check the current information handout on USCIS Immigrant Fee (PDF).

You may also check the handout in the Russian language (PDF).