National Visa Center Interview Preparation

For a select number of US Embassies and Consulates, the National Visa Center (NVC) arranges for the scheduling of the applicant’s interview.

After receiving notification from the NVC that the applicant has an interview scheduled, take the following actions:

Warning: Do not take any action described below without authorization from the NVC. Taking action without the NVC’s authorization could result in a delay in processing.

Notification from the NVC

After receiving notification from the NVC that the applicant has been scheduled for an interview:

  1. Review the information sent by the NVC to determine the Date, Time, and Location of the applicant’s immigrant visa interview.
  2. Prepare for the Medical Examination. (Includes panel physician list by country)
  3. Ensure that all necessary original documents will be available at the time of the interview.
  4. Review the U.S. Embassy/Consulate General-specific interview guidelines.
  5. Review the Important Visa Interview Notices.
  6. Questions: Please see the Immigrant Visa Interview Frequently Asked Questions.

NOTE: For information regarding how to obtain a social security number, please visit the Social Security Administration’s website.

Medical Examination

All intending immigrants, regardless of age, are required to have a medical examination before a visa can be issued. Medical examinations may only be done by a specially appointed panel physician.

The medical examination will include a medical history, physical examination, chest X-ray and blood tests for syphilis and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). The physical examination will include at a minimum examination of the eyes, ears, nose and throat, extremities, heart, lungs, abdomen, lymph nodes, skin and external genitalia.

Preparing for the medical examination

The applicant’s medical examination must be performed by one of a panel of doctors authorized to complete the medical examination and x-ray of U.S. visa applicants.  The following steps will walk an applicant through the process of preparing for the medical examination.

  1. Select the first three letters of the applicant’s NVC case number from the following dropdown list.
  2. Click on Panel Physician List.

( Note – About Adobe Reader : In order to download the Panel Physician List, you will need to have a recent version of Adobe Reader installed on your computer. If you do not have Adobe Reader on your computer, please visit There is no charge to download Adobe Reader. Please note that you may receive a “file corrupted” error message if you are using an older version of Adobe Reader.)

  1. Contact one of the designated physician’s offices to arrange the applicant’s medical exam. Please give the doctor the date of the immigrant visa appointment or explain that the exam is for an immigrant visa applicant. The panel physician will advise you of the cost of the exam and tests.
  2. Obtain the applicant’s vaccination records, immunization records, and prior chest x-rays.
  3. Bring the following to the examination:
    • Copies of prior medical records, immunization records, and prior chest x-rays
    • The applicant’s passport, identity card, laissez-passer, or travel document
  4. Questions: If the applicant has any special medical conditions or to answer any general questions about the medical examination, please see the Medical Examination Frequently Asked Questions.

Appointment NVC Processing

The applicant and each family member who will accompany the applicant to the United States will need to submit two front-view color photographs with a white background.


The photographs must be square measuring 2 inches x 2 inches (5 cm x 5 cm).

  • Head should be positioned directly facing the camera
  • Photographs should capture from slightly above top of hair to middle of chest
  • Eyes should be open and looking at the camera
  • Eyeglasses should be worn if normally used by the subject
    • Glare on eyeglasses can usually be avoided with a slight upward or downward tilt of the head
  • Background should be white or off-white
  • Include headpieces if worn daily for religious purposes; they should not obscure or cause shadows on the eyes or any other part of the face

Photo Assistance

Head Facing the Camera

To prevent geometric distortion and ensure an adequate depth of field, the camera should be placed at the subject’s eye level and approximately 4 ft (120 cm) from the subject.

By placing the subject on an adjustable height seat, the height of the camera tripod can be fixed.

A lens of about 105 mm focal length on a 35 mm film camera, or its equivalent on any other camera, should provide a sufficiently flat field of view.


A slight downward tilt of the head will usually eliminate glare on eyeglasses. If this does not reduce the glare, try tilting the head slightly upward or rotating the glasses slightly upward or downward. The head should not be tilted by more than a few degrees to eliminate glare.

“Red Eye” conditions should be avoided. Red eye is caused by a direct reflection, through the pupil, from the retina of the eye when an on-camera flash is used, particularly for a subject who has adapted to a darkened environment. Red eye can be reduced by using an off-camera flash or by brightening the ambient lighting.


A distracting background should be avoided. Use a plain wall or a photographer’s backdrop cloth as the background. The background color may be white or off-white.

Ideally, the background will be out of focus so that minor markings or texture on the background are not apparent in the photo.

Required Documents

The applicant is responsible for ensuring that all required documents are available at the time of the interview. While the applicant may have previously submitted the majority of required documents to the National Visa Center (NVC), the applicant may not have submitted all necessary documents to the NVC. Failure to bring all required documentation to the interview may result in a delay in visa issuance or a visa refusal. The following documents must be available for the interview:

Note: All documents not in English or in the official language of the country in which the interview takes place MUST be accompanied by a certified translation into English. Translations must be certified by a competent translator and sworn to before a Notary Public. 

 Embassy/Consulate General-specific interview guidelines

Several US Embassies and Consulates have information that they want to ensure that applicants have before their interview. This information may vary from security considerations to directions to the interview location. To determine if the embassy/consulate where the visa interview will take place has any location-specific guidelines:

  1. Select the first three letters of the applicant’s NVC case number from the following dropdown list.
  2. Click on US Embassy/Consulate-specific information.

– Select NVC Case Number – ABD – Abu Dhabi ABJ – Abidjan ACC – Accra ACK – Auckland ADD – Addis Ababa ALG – Algiers AMM – Amman AMS – Amsterdam ANK – Ankara ANT – Antananarivo ASM – Asmara ASN – Asuncion ATA – Almaty ATH – Athens BCH – Bucharest BDP – Budapest BEN – Bern BGH – Baghdad BGN – Bridgetown BGT – Bogota BLZ – Belize City BMB – Bombay BNK – Bangkok BNS – Buenos Aires BRS – Brussels BRT – Beirut BUJ – Bujumbura CDJ – Ciudad Juarez CLM – Colombo COT – Cotonou CPN – Copenhagen CRO – Cairo CRS – Caracas CSB – Casablanca DBL – Dublin DHK – Dhaka DJI – Djibouti DKR – Dakar DMS – Damascus DOH – Doha DRS – Dar Es Salaam FRN – Frankfurt FTN – Freetown GEO – Georgetown GTM – Guatemala City GYQ – Guayaquil HAV – Havana HCM – Ho Chi Minh City HLS – Helsinki HML – Hamilton HNK – Hong Kong HRE – Harare ISL – Islamabad JAK – Jakarta JHN – Johannesburg JRS – Jerusalem KDU – Kathmandu KEV – Kiev KHF – Khartoum KIN – Kinshasa KLL – Kuala Lumpur KNG – Kingston KWT – Al Kuwait LGS – Lagos LIB – Libreville LIL – Lilongwe LMA – Lima LND – London LOM – Lome LPZ – La Paz LSB – Lisbon LUA – Luanda LUS – Lusaka MDD – Madrid MDR – Madras MNA – Manama MNG – Managua MNL – Manila MOS – Moscow MRV – Monrovia MST – Muscat MTL – Montreal MTV – Montevideo NHA – Naha NMY – Niamey NPL – Naples NRB – Nairobi NSS – Nassau NWD – New Delhi OSL – Oslo OUG – Ouagadougou PHP – Phnom Penh PIA – Praia PNM – Panama City PRG – Prague PRM – Paramaribo PRS – Paris PTD – Ponta Delgada PTM – Port Moresby PTP – Port-au-Prince PTS – Port of Spain RDJ – Rio de Janeiro RID – Riyadh RKJ – Reykjavik RNG – Rangoon SAA – Sanaa SAR – Sarajevo SDO – Santo Domingo SEO – Seoul SGP – Singapore SKO – Skopje SNJ – San Jose SNS – San Salvador SNT – Santiago SOF – Sofia STK – Stockholm SUV – Suva SYD – Sydney TAI – Taipei TAL – Tallinn TBL – Tbilisi TGG – Tegucigalpa THT – Tashkent TIA – Tirana TKY – Tokyo TLV – Tel Aviv TNS – Tunis VAC – Vancouver VNN – Vienna VNT – Vientiane WRW – Warsaw YDE – Yaounde YRV – Yerevan ZGB – Zagrebpdf
In order to download US Embassy/Consulate General-specific information, you will need to have a recent version of Adobe Reader installed on your computer. If you do not have Adobe Reader on your computer, please visit There is no charge to download Adobe Reader.

Please note that you may receive a “file corrupted” error message if you are using an older version of Adobe Reader.

Important Visa Interview Notices

The applicant should be aware of the following information prior to the interview:

Failure to bring a copy of the appointment letter to the interview may delay the interview

  • No assurance can be given in advance that a visa will be issued. A consular officer can make a decision only after the applicant’s formal application and documents are reviewed, and the applicant interviewed.
  • The applicant is advised to NOT make any travel arrangements, dispose of any property, or give up employment until the visa has been issued.
  • An immigrant visa is usually valid for a maximum of six months from the date of issuance. The applicant must travel and apply for admission to the United States within that 6-month period.
  • The interviewing office will make every effort to expedite the applicant’s visa application on the day of the interview; however, it is a process that requires several hours. It is possible that the applicant will have to spend several hours in the office before final action can be taken on the application. Should complications arise, it is unlikely that the applicant will receive a visa on the day of the appointment; the applicant may have to return to the US Embassy/Consulate General another time.
  • Applicants who were previously issued J1 visas and studied, worked, or lived in the United States as exchange visitors (and those who are currently in the U.S. as exchange visitors) should be aware that the two-year foreign residence requirement may apply to them. Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) provides that certain aliens admitted to the U.S. under INA 101(a)(15)(J) are subject to a two-year foreign residence and physical presence. The requirement also applies to spouses and children of the J1 visa holders if they entered the U.S. under the exchange visitor program.
  • An immigrant visa may not be issued if there is a finding of ineligibility under section 212(e). The consular officer will provide those affected by this requirement with information about how this ineligibility may be overcome.
  • If the applicant is 20 years old and the applicant’s 21st birthday is prior to the appointment date, please immediately contact the U.S. Embassy/Consulate General where the applicant is scheduled for an interview so that they can advise you whether an earlier appointment is possible. Visa categories are based upon the age of the applicant at the time of visa issuance, rather than when the petition was filed, and failure to receive a visa prior to the applicant’s 21st birthday may mean that the applicant is no longer eligible for an immigrant visa at this time.

Failure to appear

Section 203(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act requires that an intending immigrant pursue his/her visa application within one year from the date he/she is informed that it is possible to do so. Receiving notification from the NVC that a visa interview appointment has been set is notice to the applicant that it is possible to pursue an application for a visa. If the applicant fails to do so within one year from the date of the interview, the application and any visa petition approved for the applicant will be cancelled.

Immigrants Advised to Carry Immunization and Other Records to United States

Every state in the United States now requires that children have a record of complete immunization at the time of a child’s first enrollment into school. In most states, this applies to transfer students entering any grade. Therefore, the US Public Health Services (USPHS) strongly recommends that children entering the country should either have evidence of immunity consisting of physician documentation of prior disease, or a record of immunizations.

Panel physicians shall inform immigrant visa applicants at the time of examination that problems may be encountered should they enter the United States without proper health records and certifications of vaccinations, and they shall urge the applicants to obtain such documents from their private physicians, local health departments, or schools prior to departure.



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