What Happens During Consular Processing?

When you live outside the U.S. and want to apply for a U.S. green card, you will likely need to go through consular processing. Consular processing is the main path to a U.S. green card for applicants residing outside of the U.S. The process allows you to remain in your home country while awaiting the processing of your green card application. This can be good news as the process can take a few months.

What Happens During Consular Processing?

Before beginning to go through consular processing, you should first check as to whether or not you meet all of the eligibility requirements for obtaining a green card. If you do, you should proceed with having your U.S. sponsor file your green card petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once you have been approved for your green card, then you should check to see if there is a green card available to you. Remember that approval of your green card petition can take several months and even, in some cases, more than a year. Also, if you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen, your visa will be available immediate. Other applicants may have to wait some time before one becomes available to them.

When a visa becomes available, your petition will be forwarded by USCIS to the National Visa Center (NVC) where it will be processed. You will be notified by NVC when you need to pay the requisite fees and provide supporting documentation for your application. You will also need to complete Form DS-260. Upon completion of all the requests, NVC will forward your case file, along with the necessary supporting documentation, to the U.S. embassy or consulate closest to you. The embassy or consular will be in touch with you to arrange an in-person interview.

Before you go to your in-person interview, however, a doctor approved by USCIS will need to conduct a medical exam on you. After this, you will be able to go to your interview where you will need to bring both your passport along with originals of all necessary documentation. A consular officer will place you under oath upon your arrival at the interview and will proceed with asking you a series of questions about your application.

The consular officer will render a decision on your application. They may immediately inform you as to whether your application has been approved or you may receive word from them later on. If you have to wait, it is usually not too long, about a week. Upon approval of your application, you will be granted a visa permitting your travel to the U.S. You will also receive a sealed envelope that contains your application file. Keep the envelope sealed. It must be unsealed only by a U.S. officer located at an official port of entry.

The visa permitting your travel to the U.S. will be valid up to 6 months from the date of your medical exam. It will not permit you to travel in and out of the U.S. for at least 12 months. During this 12 month time period, you should receive your U.S. green card sent to you by USCIS.

Immigration Law Attorneys

If you have any questions about how the immigration and nationality laws in the United States may impact you or your family members or if you want to access additional information about the United States or Canadian immigration and nationality laws, please feel free to get in touch with the immigration and nationality lawyers at NPZ Law Group. You can send us an email at info@visaserve.com or call us at 201-670-0006 extension 104. In addition, we invite you to find more information on our website at www.visaserve.com