USA and the UK
- Overview of Moving to the US from Colombia
- Who is Eligible to Emigrate from Colombia to US?
- What Type of Visa Do You Need to Emigrate to US from Colombia?
- What is an I-130 Immigrant Petition?
- How to Prepare for Your Visa Interview
- Which Documents Will You Need to Provide During Your Application?
- How Much Will Your Visa Cost?
- What Are Asylum Seekers Visas?
- What Happens If Your Visa Application Is Successful?
- Can Your Child Migrate from Colombia to US with You?
- How Can Immigration Advice Service Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Overview of Moving to the US from Colombia
There are over 478,000 Colombian ex-pats living in the New York Metro area alone. Many Colombians move to the US for job opportunities, to access world-class higher education, and to join spouses or family members who already reside in the US.
Moving to the US will feel easy, as you won’t be alone. The US is home to over 50 million immigrants and houses many different cultures.
Before you begin the application process to emigrate to the US from Colombia, you must confirm your eligibility and understand the process.
Who is Eligible to Emigrate from Colombia to the US?
Before you begin your visa application process, you must understand whether you’re eligible.
To apply for the visa and begin the visa interview process, you need a sponsor who lives in the US, either with US Citizenship or a Lawful Permanent Resident visa. This person can be your employer, spouse, parent, or close family member. If it is your spouse, you must have a legal marriage certificate with certified copies to present in your application.
You may not be eligible to apply for a US Permanent Resident visa if you have a criminal record. An immigration lawyer can advise you on the best steps for your application should you have a criminal record. The US offers special visas for refugees, abuse victims, international reporters, and trafficking victims.
Before you begin the application process to migrate to the US from Colombia, you need to know which type of visa you need. Here are the main visa category options:
- Non-immigrant visas – if you’re looking to visit the US for a short period, you will need a non-immigrant visa. With these temporary visas, you can apply to travel for work, study, travel, medical care, or other reasons.
- Immigrant visas – if you’re planning to emigrate to the US from Colombia, you’ll need an immigrant visa. The immigrant visa isn’t a temporary visa. It’s for foreign nationals who plan to live in the US as permanent residents.
Types of Immigrant Visas
There are many immigrant visas for those moving from Latin America to the US. To help you understand which one applies, here are some of the most commonly used immigrant visa types:
- Spouse of a US Citizen – if you are a spouse of someone living in the US, you will need to apply for the following visas:
- IR1, CR1
- Employer-Sponsored visas – if your employer is sponsoring your move to the US, you will need one of the following visas:
- E1 – Priority worker visa
- E2 – Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability
- E3, EW – Professionals and Other Workers
- SD, SR, SE, SQ, SI – Certain Special Immigrants
- T5, C5 – Employment Creation/Investors
- Returning Residents will need the following visa:
- Fiancé(e) to Marry a US Citizen & Live in US will need one of the following visas:
- K-3 – if you are still waiting for approval for an I-130 immigrant petition
- Certain Family Members of US Citizens will need the following visas:
- IR2 – the Child of a US Citizen can apply for an IR-2 visa to move to the US.
- CR2 – for adopted children, stepchildren, and biological children of US Citizens to move to the US. The child must be unmarried and under 21.
- IR5 – for parents of US Citizens to move to the US.
- F1 – a temporary visa for students moving to the US for study.
- F3 – for married children of US Citizens.
- F4 – for brothers and sisters of US Citizens.
- Certain Family Members of US Lawful Permanent Residents will need one of the following visas:
- F2A – for spouses and minor children of US Citizens or LPRs.
- F2B – for unmarried children of US Citizens or LPRs over 21.
What is an I-130 Immigrant Petition?
Before applying for a Permanent Resident visa or green card, you’ll need to register an I-130 Immigrant Petition. Applying for your US green card starts with submitting this petition to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS).
You must submit your petition to your country’s U.S. Embassy as a Colombian citizen. Your sponsor should submit your application and include their details in the petition.
If your application is successful, the USCIS will submit your approval to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will then complete your visa application for your visa category, and you will receive a request for a visa interview.
You will then attend the interview with a Consulate Official, and the interview will take place at the U.S. Embassy in Botoga, Colombia. You should bring your Colombian ID and passport to this meeting to verify your identity.
How to Prepare for Your Visa Interview
Before you visit the U.S. Embassy or consulate for your interview, you will need to undergo a medical examination, which will aid in your application for health insurance when you enter the US.
You will need to bring your Appointment Confirmation letter with you, along with some form of identification. You can expect to be at the embassy for between 2 and 3 hours. During this time, the following processes will occur:
- The staff will review your application and data-enter your application details.
- The staff will take your fingerprints. If you have a cut or blister on one of your fingertips, the U.S. Embassy will cancel the application process, and you will need to apply for an appointment later.
It would help if you arrived at your appointment 30 minutes before your meeting. If you show up late, there is no guarantee that you will be able to reschedule your appointment.
To assist in your preparations for the interview, below you will find information regarding the questions the consulate official might ask you.
- Questions regarding your spouse – if you are moving to the US with a spousal visa, you will be required to answer questions about your spouse, evidencing your relationship. These questions might include your spouse’s biographic information, how you met, your spouse’s family, work, education, family, and residence. You will also be required to answer questions about your spouse’s cultural background and the common interests you share with your spouse.
- Questions regarding the company you work for – if you are moving to the US for work, you can expect to answer questions about the company, your role, and your employment history.
- Questions regarding your travel – the consulate officer will likely ask you questions regarding your travel plans to the US, your previous travels to the US, and whether anyone will be traveling with you to the US.
- Questions regarding tax – you will be asked whether you owe any tax to your state government, and you are obligated to answer honestly.
Which Documents Will You Need to Provide During Your Application?
To complete your application and perform your interview for a Permanent Resident visa, you’ll need to provide the following documents:
- Your confirmation page from your application form (DS-160).
- Your appointment confirmation page.
- Your passport or alternative travel document (which must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your entry to the United States).
- Your own 5 X 5 colour photograph of you in the last six months.
- Your evidence that you are a Colombian citizen, such as your birth certificate.
- Your marriage certificate if you are applying as a spouse.
- Your criminal record, which you are legally required to disclose.
- Your medical report from your medical evaluation.
- Your official documents relating to previously denied entry, deportation, or removal from the United States.
Before providing this information to the Government in your application, there are some essential things to note. You need to ensure that the documents are in the correct format to avoid delays in your application. If these documents are not in English, you must present them alongside a translation, which an official translation service must provide. Your translation does not require the services of a notary
When you copy these documents, you need to ensure that the copies are certified – which means they will need to be copied by a notary or government agency. The notary will write the documents in long form, with all relevant information included. For instance, submitting your birth certificate must contain your place of birth, your parents’ names, and where you were born.
How Much Will Your Visa Cost?
The visa cost to move to the US from Colombia varies depending on the type of green card you need. Here are some examples of visa costs to show what you can expect to pay to move from South America to the United States with a spousal visa:
|Fee Type||Cost for Applicant Living Abroad|
|I-145 Form (Green Card Application)||N/A|
|I-864 (Financial Support Form)||$120|
|State Department Processing||$325|
|USCIS Immigrant Fee||$220|
Certain charges, such as Travel Permit and Work Permit application forms, have yet to be included in this list as they do not apply. If you’re moving from Columbia to US for work or travel, you could be subject to more fees, such as vaccination fees, translation service charges, photography fees, notary charges, and mailing costs.
What Are Asylum Seekers Visas?
The US does not intervene in foreign affairs and maintains diplomacy with other countries. However, the US extends asylum-seeker visas to help political dissidents and refugees escape dangerous and life-threatening conditions in their own countries. If you are being persecuted in your country for the following reasons and can provide proof of this persecution, you could be entitled to asylum-seeker visa types:
- Membership in a social group
- Political opinion
If the above applies, you can apply for an I-589 visa with the USCIS. If the following applies, your application may be refused:
- You are an unaccompanied alien child in removal proceedings.
- You are in proceedings with immigration authorities or before the Board of Immigration Appeals.
If your application is refused, you can reach out to an advisory service like Immigration Advice Service, where you can receive support and advice to make an appeal.
What Happens If Your Visa Application Is Successful?
If you are successful in your application, you will receive your green card and confirmation of your Lawful Permanent Resident status, along with further details, in the mail. For a spousal visa, this process typically takes around 17 months. For other visa types, you can expect your green card application process to take between 7 and 33 months.
Once you obtain your visa, you can begin planning to arrive in the US. You can reach out to a real estate agent in the city you plan to live in, and you can begin the moving process to start a new life away from your home country.
Foreigners move to America to access good education, job opportunities, and a lower cost of living. You’ll need to apply for health insurance to ensure you can access health care in your new home, and you’ll need to decide which major cities have the best job opportunities, public transport links, and a growing economy.
Upon arriving in the US, you should seek out South American country ex-pat support groups where you can speak Spanish and learn about the experiences of other ex-pats to make your transition easier and build a sense of community.
Can Your Child Migrate from Colombia to the US with You?
If you are applying for a K-1 visa, and moving to the US to be with your fiancé(e), then you can extend the visa to cover your child’s migration, too. The K-2 visa helps you reach your destination country and live with your child. The K-2 visa allows your child to travel with you, but they can only apply if they are under 21.
If you are applying for a visa with your spouse, you can travel with your child by applying for an IR-2 visa. This application will extend the visa sponsorship to cover your child should you be successful.
If you are immigrating with your child, you should know that there will be additional charges for your child’s application. You can expect to pay per child if you make multiple entries for more than one child.
For this process, the I-130 processing times can take between 15 and 20 months, and your child will typically receive their green card within 1-2 years.
The initial fees for this process will total:
- $885 for a K-2 visa.
- $1080 for an IR-2 visa
These are the initial costs, and you can expect to pay more for medical examinations, notary charges, translation services, and additional services.
Immigration Advice Service provides services to assist you with your immigration process, helping you to understand complex visa requirements, application steps, and more. We offer various application packages to help you based on your needs and circumstances.
Our service is personal, and our immigration lawyers will work with you to help you understand your case. They will explain the steps you need to take and address your queries or concerns.
Working with our lawyers, you will prepare a portfolio of evidence to present in your application. Once the application is ready, our lawyers will submit it to the relevant governing body. And we will provide a letter of recommendation to accompany your application.
By using a professional service, you are likely to find the application process more straightforward, and the strength of your portfolio will increase the likelihood of your application’s success.
To discover more about our services and get advice about your immigration plans, don’t hesitate to contact our team at +1 844 290 6312. We are here to help.
Last modified on February 27th, 2023 at 7:16 am
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To begin your application to emigrate to the US from a country in Latin America, your sponsor should submit your application to the USCIS.
You will then need to visit your country’s U.S. Embassy to participate in an interview.
To complete your visa application, you will need to make a payment. To pay, you must complete registration with the USCIS on their website. Once you have finished registration, you will be directed to a payment page where you can enter your payment details. If you wish to pay by cash, you can select ‘Pay by Cash’, print the instructions page, and follow the payment instructions.
If your child needs to perform a visa interview, they are permitted to bring a parent or guardian. However, if the child is not a minor, they will not be permitted to bring anyone to the interview.
To move to the US for work, you will need to request sponsorship from your employer. Your employer can sponsor your visa application and provide legal assistance in your relocation package to guide you through the process.
If you’re visiting the US for tourism, you can apply for a travel visa online. The process is relatively simple and won’t take long.