The first step in consular processing is to become eligible through a petition filed on your behalf by a family member or employer. Once you are the beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition and an immigrant visa number is immediately available to you, and in you are outside of the United States, you may apply at a U.S. consulate abroad for an immigrant visa in order to come to the United States. This pathway is referred to as consular processing.
Once the petition is approved, you must wait for notification from the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will notify you when the approved 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.
Once a visa is available or your priority date is current (earlier than the cut-off date listed in the monthly Visa Bulletin), the consular office will schedule you for an interview. During the interview, consular office will process your case and decide if you are eligible for an immigrant visa.
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. You can use that packet to enter the United States. After you arrive in the United States, you should give the 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. If the CBP officer admits you, you will then have lawful permanent resident status and be able to live and work in the United States permanently. After arrival and upon payment of a fee, you will (or should) receive your Green Card in the mail within 45 days of your arrival.
We have helped many individuals and families with this process. Contact us for a free consultation if you are going through this process and need help.