Consular processing is a multi-step process, and it’s crucial that you understand the formalities that you need to go through. Here’s what you should expect:
➜ 1. Determine Your Basis to Immigrate
The first stage in consular processing is to see if you are eligible to apply for a Green Card (lawful permanent residence).
➜ 2. File the Immigrant Petition
The beneficiary will need a qualified family member to file an immigrant petition on his/her behalf.
➜ 3. Wait for a Decision on Your Petition
The petitioner is notified of the decision by USCIS. If USCIS denies the petition, the notice will state the grounds for the denial as well as whether you have the right to appeal the decision. If your petition is approved and you live outside of the U.S. (or if you live in the United States but want to apply for an immigrant visa in another country), USCIS will forward your petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center. The petition will be kept there until you receive an immigrant visa number.
➜ 4. Wait for Notification from the National Visa Center
The National Visa Center (NVC) is responsible for collecting visa application fees and supporting documentation. The NVC will notify the petitioner and you (the beneficiary) when the visa petition is received and again when an immigrant visa number is about to become available. They will also notify you when you must submit immigrant visa processing fees and supporting documentation.
➜ 5. Go to Your Appointment
Once a visa is available or your priority date is current, the consular office will schedule you for an interview. The consular office will process your case and decide if you are eligible for an immigrant visa.
➜ 6. Notify the National Visa Center of Any Changes
You should, contact the NVC if:
- You change your address,
- You were under 21 but have now reached the age of 21, or
- You change your marital status.
These changes may affect your eligibility or visa availability.
➜ 7. After Your Visa is Granted
If you are granted an immigrant visa, the consular officer will give you a packet of information. This packet is known as a “Visa Packet.” Do not open this packet. It should be unsealed by a U.S. officer at an official port of entry.
You will need to pay a USCIS Immigrant Fee. When you arrive in the United States, you should give your Visa Packet to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry. The CBP officer will inspect you and determine whether to admit you into the United States as a lawful permanent resident.
➜ 8. Receive Your Green Card
If you have paid the USCIS Immigrant Fee, you will receive your Green Card in the mail after you arrive in the United States. If you did not pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee before you arrived in the United States, you will need to pay the fee before USCIS will send you a Green Card.
The comprehensive family-based green card applications can be best handled by experienced immigration lawyers like the Law Office Of Prashanthi Reddy, PLLC, New York. We have 20+ years of experience in processing green card applications for preference and immediate relatives and can help you in your application process. Because of our experience in this field, we are able to anticipate problems and find solutions.
Reach out to the Law Offices of Prashanthi Reddy, PLLC, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 212-354-1010.