The consular process is for foreigners outside of the United States who want to apply for an immigrant visa. Foreign immigrants already in the United States can apply for permanent resident status without returning to their home country. However, those who currently aren’t in the U.S. need to go through consular processing. Our Dallas immigration attorneys explain the eight steps for consular processing.
If you need legal guidance with your immigration case, contact our Dallas immigration attorneys today at (214) 516-7776.
#1: Determine Your Basis to Immigrate
The first step in the consular process is to determine if you qualify for a green card. In most cases, a person becomes eligible for a green card if they are sponsored by a family member who is a U.S. citizen, a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), or an employer. Others become eligible by obtaining refugee or asylum status.
#2: File the Immigration Petition
Once you determine which visa you are eligible for, you will need someone else to file an immigration petition for you. If you want to apply for a green card based on your family relationship with a U.S. citizen or an LPR, you will need to file a family-based immigrant petition. However, if you want to apply for a green card based on your employment, your U.S. employer must fill out the immigration petition on your behalf. You can file a petition yourself for special category cases or if you’re under a humanitarian program.
#3: Wait for a Decision on Your Petition
Once a petition is filed, you will need to wait for the USCIS to notify you of their decision. If the USCIS denies the petition, the notification will include the reasons for the denial and whether you can appeal the decision. If your petition was approved, the USCIS will notify the Department of State’s National Visa Center, and then they will provide you with a visa number.
#4: Wait for Notification from the National Visa Center
The National Visa Center (NVC) will notify you and your sponsor when the visa petition has been received and when an immigrant visa number is available for you. They will also notify you when you need to submit any fees for the visa.
#5: Attend Interview
Once you obtain your visa number, the consular office will schedule an interview with you. The interview will help the consular office determine if you are eligible for an immigrant visa.
#6: Notify the Visa Center of Changes
You should notify the NVC of any important changes as your green card application is still being processed. You should notify the NVC if you changed your address, if you were under 21 and now reached the age of 21, or if you change your marital status.
#7: Pay Immigration Fees
If your visa has been granted, you will then need to pay a USCIS immigrant visa fee. The fee is to process your immigrant visa packet and to create your green card. You should make these payments before you travel to the United States.
#8: Receive Your Green Card
Once you pay the USCIS fee, you will receive your green card in the mail after arriving in the United States.
Contact our attorneys today at (214) 516-7776 for guidance with your immigration case.