What is Consular Processing?

consular processing

In our earlier blog on family-based petitions, we lightly discussed consular processing. Consular processing is a procedure that the beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition must undergo in order to obtain their visa to the United States. Consular processing is available to individuals who are outside of the United States and who are seeking to be admitted to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident.

Who is Eligible for Consular Processing?

A candidate for consular processing must fall under one of the following eligibility categories, which are also provided on the USCIS website:

  • Family-Based Petition;
  • Employment-Based;
  • Special Immigrant Visa Holder;
  • Refugee or Asylum Status;
  • Victim of Human Trafficking or a Crime;
  • Victim of Abuse;
  • Other Categories.

What is the Process?

A U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident sponsor must first file a petition with USCIS. Once approved, the petition is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). Once a visa is made available for the beneficiary of their petition, the NVC will provide the petitioner and beneficiary with special instructions on how to pay processing fees, provide supporting documentation, and to schedule their visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the beneficiary’s foreign country.

After the Interview

Once the consular office has approved the beneficiary’s eligibility for an immigrant visa, they will provide the beneficiary with a sealed visa packet. This packet should not be opened and will be provided to a Customs and Border Protection officer when the beneficiary reaches the U.S. at the port of entry.

If the beneficiary is admitted into the U.S. after inspection at a port of entry, and if they have already paid their USCIS Immigrant Fee, they will have their green card mailed to them within 45 days of their arrival.

Consider setting up a consultation with an immigration attorney at Gilles Law, PLLC. You can reach us at 980-272-8438 at our office in Uptown Charlotte. We are here to assist with your inquiries.

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