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Immigrant Visas

The three principal ways to immigrate to the United States are through:

In all cases, the immigration process requires a petition (application) to be filed on the inmigrant’s behalf.  Forms and the accompanying fees for filing a petition may be found at:

Immigrant Visas New Policy

Effective August 15, 2011, petitioners residing overseas are no longer 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.  USCIS does not have such presence at Embassy San Jose. Petitioners residing in Costa Rica must therefore file their Forms I-130 by mail with the USCIS Chicago lockbox.  U.S. Embassy San Jose 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 Embassy San Jose before August 15, 2011, will not be affected by this change.

Filing Instructions:

As of August 15, 2011, petitioners residing overseas who wish to file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, may do so as follows:

- If the petitioner resides in a country in which USCIS has a public counter presence, the Form I-130 may be filed directly with the USCIS field office (see instructions below) or through the USCIS Chicago Lockbox at one of the below addresses.

- If the petitioner resides in Costa Rica or any other 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:

P.O. Box 804625
Chicago, IL 60680-4107

USCIS Chicago Lockbox address for express mail and courier deliveries:

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 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 residing in Costa Rica, but who believe that their situation merits an exception, may request an exception to allow the Consular Section at the Embassy to accept the filing.  Each request for an exception will be evaluated individually.

A petitioner seeking to file a Form I-130 at an Embassy or Consulate where USCIS does not have a presence 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.  USCIS will be publishing guidance on the circumstances that may qualify as exceptional on their website .

For inquiries about residence to the U.S., please contact our call center to the telephone number 4000-1976; or if you are calling from the U.S. you can dial (703) 745-5475. You can send an e-mail to email to:

For more information on immigrant visas, please visit


  • Diversity visa program 2017

Consulate Information


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    For security reasons, visa applicants and American citizens are not allowed to enter the U.S. Consulate or Embassy grounds with bags, food (with the exception of snacks for children under six years old), weapons, or any type of electronic devices (including laptops, iPads, iPods, cameras, memory sticks, CDs, etc.)  Please do not bring supporting information (photos, transcripts, ultrasounds, etc.) on electronic devices.  Please bring only printed information to your appointment. 

    The U.S. Consulate General in Costa Rica does not have a storage facility for such items. We strongly discourage visa applicants and visitors to the American Citizen Services section from bringing these items to the Embassy.

    If you must bring cell phones, you must leave those items with the security guards at the entrance and pick them up upon exiting.  The U.S. government takes no responsibility for devices left at the Embassy.

    Your cooperation is appreciated.