Consular Processing of an Immigration Visa
Consular processing is the path to permanent resident status in which an individual is a beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition and has a readily available visa number for which to apply at the United States consulate abroad for an immigrant visa. This will allow the applicant to come to the United States as a permanent resident.
The steps used for adjustment of status include:
- 1) Determine your basis to immigrate. This means that an individual must first understand their immigration status, and the avenue for which they may obtain a green card.
- 2) File the Immigrant Petition. This is the step that requires an individual to find a friend, relative, or employer to file a petition on their behalf. Requirements for each category include:
- Employment Based: require the intending United States employer to file Form I-140. Investors who intend to invest significant amounts of capital into a business venture in the US may file Form I-526.
- Family Based: Require that a United States citizen or permanent resident relative file Form I-130.
- Special Classes of Immigrants: certain immigrants may file Form I-360 in some cases.
- Humanitarian Programs: most of such programs do not require a petition.
- 3) Wait for a decision on your petition. USCIS will promptly notify the applicant of a decision regarding their packet. Should the petition be denied, a notice will be attached which includes the various reasons for denying the application and will include the rights and instructions for the appeal process. If approved while abroad, USCIS will send the approval information to the Department of State’s National Visa Center. The approval will remain at the center until an immigrant number is readily available.
- 4) Wait for Notification form the National Visa Center. The National Visa Center has the responsibility of promptly collecting application fees as well as documentation from the applicant and notifying the applicant when the petition is received as well as when a visa number is available.
- 5) Go to your appointment. Once a visa is available, or a beneficiary’s priority date is current, the consular office will schedule an interview. During this interview, the consular office will complete processing of the application and decide if the beneficiary should receive an immigrant visa.
- 6) Notify the National Visa Center of Any Changes. An applicant should contact the NVC is there are any changes to his or her personal situation, or if there is any change in address.
- 7) After the Visa is granted. If an applicant is given an immigrant visa, the consular office will deliver a pack of information that is not to be opened. The packet should be given to Border Protection at the applicant’s port of entry to the United States.
- 8) Receive Your Green Card. After all other steps have been completed, a green card will be mailed within 45 days of arrival in to the United States.