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Consular Processing

Those wishing to immigrate to the United States must typically go through consular processing in their home countries. It is…

Those wishing to immigrate to the United States must typically go through consular processing in their home countries. It is difficult to apply while inside of the U.S., but there is a process called “Adjustment of Status.” Obtaining a green card can be challenging, especially without the help of a trained professional. If you are currently in another country and wish to immigrate to the United States, it is recommended that you connect with a reputable immigration attorney as soon as you can.

Steps of Consular Processing

Consular processing consists of several steps. Each step must be assiduously followed. Any deviation from the rules or requirements could result in your application being delayed or denied. Listed below are the most common steps of consular processing.

  1. Determine Your Eligibility: Before you apply for a green card, it is important to know if you are able to immigrate to the United States. Most people can receive their eligibility through a multitude of options: a petition filed for you by a family member, a petition filed by an employer, immigrant alien entrepreneur, the green card lottery, or seeking asylum or refugee status. There are other special categories as well.
  2. Have Someone File the Petition: Once you have determined which category of immigration that you fall into, you will typically have someone else file the petition via Form I-130, I-140, I-526 or I-360. They must file within the United States, except for special circumstances.
  3. A decision is Made on Your Petition: The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will notify each petitioner when a decision has been made. If a denial is sent, it will give the reasons why your petition was denied. If approved, USCIS sends it to the National Visa Center.
  4. Receive Notification from the National Visa Center: The NVC will let you and the petitioner know when the petition is received, when the immigrant visa number is ready, and when you need to submit your immigrant processing fees.
  5. Attend Your Appointment: Once there is availability, the consular office will set-up your interview. After your interview has taken place, your case will be processed, and a decision made on the status of your visa.
  6. Contact the NVC if Anything Changes: If you have changed your address, you’ve reached the age of 21 during the application process, and/or you’ve changed your marital status, it is imperative that you notify the National Visa Center. These changes can possibly affect your eligibility.
  7. A Visa is Granted: After you are granted a visa, you will receive a visa packet from the consular office. You are not allowed to open the packet. Pay the immigrant fee required by USCIS (available online) after you receive your packet. When you come to the U.S., give your visa packet to the CBP officer at the port of entry. They will review it and decide whether to allow you to enter the United States as a permanent citizen.
  8. Get Your Green Card: After you have paid your Immigrant Fee to USCIS, you should receive your Green Card at your residence in the U.S. within 45 days.

Should You Leave the United States For Consular Processing?

In most instances, the beneficiary of an immigrant petition must go through consular processing outside of the United States at an embassy or consular office. If you are already in the U.S., you may be eligible for an adjustment of status. However, many immigrants are not eligible for this procedure. Especially if they have overstayed their current visa or are in the country illegally. Immigrants who have stayed in the United States illegally for more than 180 days, should not leave the country for consular processing. If they do, they may be barred from reentering the U.S. for three to ten years. If you are in this situation, it is best to contact an immigration attorney as there are waivers that you can apply for. However, it is a very complex process that is not guaranteed.

How to Prepare for the Consular Interview

The consular interview is one of the final stages to complete before you receive your visa and green card.

First, you will be required to schedule as well as attend your medical examination. It must be completed by an embassy-approved physician.

Second, review all pre-interview instructions given to you and register courier services. The courier services are used to return visas and passports after the interview is completed.

Third, bring all the required documents to the interview. If you forget any document required for the processing of your visa will not be completed. This will cause a delay in the process.

Lastly, review all additional information provided by the U.S. Embassy or Consular office. During the interview, it is imperative that you answer every question honestly. If you are unsure of an answer, no matter how trivial the question is, just let them know that you don’t know the answer. Any false statements can result in the denial of your application.

When to Contact an Immigration Attorney?

Many people going through Consular Processing in Florida find that obtaining a Green Card is a long, complex and difficult process. Any mistake made can result in the denial or delay of your application. Whether you are applying for a visa to start a new career, join family, or escape an oppressive situation, it is advised that you work with an experienced immigration attorney. The attorneys at U.S. Immigration Law Counsel will assess your situation and offer help and guidance on consular processing in Florida.

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