Civil Documents Checklist for Immigrant Visa Application

Civil Documents Checklist

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As part of the Consular Processing, each applicant is required to provide NVC the following:

In this article, we will focus on civil documents that must be provided with your immigrant visa application.

Keep in mind that EACH civil document (birth certificate, marriage certificate, police certificate, etc.) must strictly meet the Department of State (DOS) requirements.

  • For example, if your birth certificate was issued by the government of Argentina, the birth certificate must meet all the requirements described on the DOS page for Argentina.
  • On the other hand, if your marriage certificate was issued in Brazil, then you need to double check marriage certificate requirements for Brazil.

This rule applies to all civil documents. 

Before submitting your civil documents to an NVC account, you must first ensure that each civil document meets the requirements for the country of issuance.

If you fail to provide a civil document that meets all the DOS requirements, the processing of your immigrant application will be significantly delayed.

We will provide links for each country’s civil documents requirements later in this article.

General Civil Documents Checklist

After completing the Form DS-260, the immigrant visa applicant must upload the following documents to their NVC online account:

Type of document

Examples of acceptable documents

Who must provide it

Birth certificate


Marriage certificate

  • Marriage certificate


Divorce documents

  • Divorce decree(s), death certificates or annulment papers for any terminated marriages


Unexpired passport

  • Biographic page of unexpired passport


Petitioner documents

  • Petitioner’s birth certificate (for petitions based on parent relationships or sibling relationships only)
  • Petitioner’s divorce decree(s), previous spouse’s death certificate or annulment records (only for petitions based on marriage)


Police certificate(s)

  • See below

Only applicants over 16 years old

Court and prison records

  • Certified copy of each court and prison record (even if the applicant was later granted amnesty, a pardon or other act of clemency

Only applicants who have criminal convictions

Military records

  • Records of military service

Only applicants who have served in the military

Adoption documents

  • A certified copy of the adoption decree;
  • The legal custody decree if custody occurred before the adoption;
  • A statement showing dates and places where the child resided with the adoptive parents;
  • If the child was adopted when aged 16 or 17 years old, evidence that the child was adopted with, or subsequent to, the adoption of a natural sibling under age 16 by the same adoptive parent(s).

Only adopted children

Police certificates 

If you are 16 years of age or older, you must obtain a photocopy of a police certificate from all countries you have lived in using below criteria:

If you …

AND you…

THEN submit a police certificate from…

Are 16 years old or older

Lived in your country of nationality for more than 6 months at any time in your life

Your country of nationality

Are 16 years old or older

Have lived in your country of current residence (if different from nationality) for more than 6 months

Your country of current residence

Have ever lived in another country for 12 months or more

Were 16 years or older at the time you lived there

The country where you used to live.

Were arrested for any reason, regardless of how long you lived in that city or country, and no matter what age you were


The city and/or country where you were arrested.

Note: Police certificates do not need to be obtained for time in the United States.

Important: Police certificates expire after two years, unless:

  • The police certificate was issued from your country of previous residence, and
  • You have not returned there since the police certificate was issued.

How to Upload Documents to NVC Account

All civil documents must be scanned and uploaded to your NVC account

The scanned copy of your documents must be:

  • In color;
  • Include the front and back of any document that has stamps, seals or writing on the back;
  • Include a certified English translation of each foreign language document;
  • Clear and legible;
  • Oriented so it can be read across the screen without the need to rotate the document.

All original documents must be brought to the interview.

Besides the civil documents, each applicant must upload their petitioner’s Affidavit of Support documents (tax returns, W-2 forms, etc.). You can find the Affidavit of Support checklist here.

If you need a joint sponsor, the joint sponsor’s checklist of required documents can be found in this article. A joint sponsor will also need to provide proof of U.S. domicile. Acceptable documents that serve as a joint sponsor’s proof of U.S. domicile:

  • Lease agreement;
  • Utility bills for the last 12 months;
  • Mortgage statements for the last 12 months;
  • Pay stubs for the last 12 months, etc.

Civil Documents Checklists for All Countries

Before uploading your civil documents to an NVC account, you must ensure that each document meets the U.S. Department of State requirements.

If documents were issued in different countries, each document must meet the country of issuance requirements.

Below you can find the civil documents requirements for each country in the world.

Related links:

Consular Processing – How to Apply for Immigrant Visa

Affidavit of Support Checklist 

How to Fill Out Form DS-260