Understanding Consular Processing
Consular processing is the process of applying for an immigrant visa or green card through a U.S. Department of State Embassy or consulate in a foreign country. In consulate processing, your U.S. visa or green card application will be handled by the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country.
If you are already a beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition and have your immigrant visa number available, you can apply for your immigrant visa to enter the United States and be admitted as a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) through consular processing.
The first step in consular processing is to determine whether you are eligible to apply for a green card. You may be eligible for a green card under the following categories:
- Green Card through Family
- Green Card as a Special Immigrant
- Green Card Through Refugee or Asylum Status
- Green Card for Human Trafficking and Crime Victims
- Green Card for Victims of Abuse
- Green Card through Other Categories, such as Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF), Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, Cuban Adjustment Act, and Dependent status under the HRIFA
Steps of Consular Processing
Below are the steps involved in consular processing:
Determine Your Basis to Immigrate
Determine whether you fit into any of the immigrant categories mentioned above. Most immigrants are eligible for a green card through a petition filed on their behalf by a qualifying family member.
File an Immigration Petition
Depending on the immigration category you are eligible for, your sponsor or you will file an immigrant petition on your behalf. My law firm will guide you in this step by providing you with a comprehensive list of documents that you need for this step as well as draft all the requisite forms for you.
Once your petition is approved, the USCIS will notify both the attorney's office and the petitioner. The approved petition will be sent to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC). We will then guide you in completing all the documents that you need as well as all the forms that you need at the NVC stage and upload the documents and complete the process for you. Our office will ensure that you include all supporting documents and processing fees in your application for your loved one.
Attend Your Consular Interview At the Consulate
USCIS will then evaluate your application and schedule an interview with you. Once there is an available appointment at the consulate, our law firm will guide you in getting both your biometric exam as well as your medical exam. We will also help you in preparing the package for the interview. We will prepare you for your interview with the consular officer so that there are no admissibility issues. We will partner with you until you get your visa in your passport and be there to welcome you into the United States.
What to Expect After the Visa Is Approved
When your visa application is approved and you are granted an immigrant visa, the consular officer will hand over a “Visa Packet” to you. You are not expected to open this packet. Give your Visa Packet to the Customs and Border Protection officer when you arrive in the United States. The authorities will inspect you, and you will be admitted as a permanent resident of the United States.
How an Immigration Attorney Can Help
Applying for a green card outside of the United States through consular processing can be a confusing and lengthy process. Having proper guidance is essential to help simplify your application and improve your chances of success. An experienced consular processing immigration attorney can offer you the proper guidance you need to navigate important decisions.
At M Mathew Law Firm, PLLC, I have devoted my career to assisting and guiding clients through the complexities of consular processing. As your legal counsel, I can enlighten you about the procedures involved in consular processing and determine your eligibility category. Also, I will review all your documents, help file your immigration petition, and ensure that your application is prepared properly at all the stages of the application whether you are dealing with USCIS, NVC, or at your country's consulate. Having me on your side can make a big difference in your visa application.