What is Consular Processing?

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What is Consular Processing?

Hi everyone, and welcome back to Kriezelman Burton and Associates. This is Erin Cobb, a partner here at our immigration law firm. As mentioned in our previous blog post about entering without inspection (EWI), we are talking bout consular processing today.

Picture this: you are visiting an immigration lawyer, and you are excited because it is finally time to apply for your green card. However, your lawyer tells you that you have to consular process. What is it? And why do you have to do it?

First, what is consular processing? It means that you have to process your green card through the consulate. Usually, we use this phrase when we talk about applying for your green card. It is officially called lawful permanent residency by going through the State Department and then the U.S. consulate in your home country.

Here is how it works:

  • Your relative or employer files a petition for you with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, or the USCIS here in the U.S. 
  • Once approved, the USCIS sends it over to the State Department, specifically the National Visa Center, or NVC. The NVS then reaches out to you and collects your application fee, immigrant visa application, and biographical documents such as birth and marriage certificates.
  • Once the NVC has all the required documents, it will schedule you an appointment at the U.S. consulate in your home country and passes on your information. 
  • Once you have completed this appointment, and if you are eligible, you are granted your immigrant visa. The day that you enter the United States on that visa, you will become a permanent resident.

Of course, however, the process is not really that simple. Unfortunately, there are many ineligibility grounds that can cause issues when someone is applying for their green card through consular processing. Due to this, you must talk to an attorney who specializes in immigration law before you depart the country.

Anyone outside of the United States and applying for permanent residency uses the consular process to obtain their green card. However, many individuals are in the U.S. who also have to go through the consular process when applying for permanent residency. 

Sometimes the phrase consular processing is used to talk about other visas as well. For example, a person who wants to apply for a student visa and is already in the U.S. may not be able to change their status unless they complete the process abroad. Why would someone have to depart the U.S. and go back to their home country to apply for the green card through the consulate? That’s going to be the topic of our next blog post.

Thank you for reading. Be sure to check back soon for more information and explanations of the immigration process and immigration law. If you have any questions, or you or someone you know requires legal representation or assistance in your immigration case, please contact our office. We are here to help.