Consular Processing

Massa Viana Law

Consular Processing

The Consulate Interview Process 

Consular Processing is usually an option when you are outside the United States. 

WARNING: Consular processing occurs outside the United States at the consulate or embassy in the home country. If the person seeking the immigration benefit is already within the United States, it is crucial that you get the correct legal advice before leaving the United States to Consular Process. Leaving the United States under the wrong conditions may bar you from re-entry for 10 years in some cases. Please make sure you consult an attorney prior to traveling abroad for Consular Processing. 

There are generally two steps to a Consular Processing petition. First, it is important to determine the basis of eligibility for the non-immigrant visa or green card. Green Cards can be based on a petition by a family member or an employer. As with Adjustment of Status, some humanitarian statuses can also be the basis of an immigrant petition.

The process begins with determining eligibility and filing the proper immigrant petition. For instance, a person may be the beneficiary of an approved employment-based petition filed by an employer. Upon approval, the petition is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing. The National Visa Center does not make decisions on the petition. It simply assembles documents for the Consulate or Embassy.

On a family petition case, the first step is the family petition itself. The Citizen or LPR family member files the family petition with evidence of the familial relationship. If it is approved, the intending-immigrant is then given a “priority date.” Depending on what category your family member is in, they may have to wait several years for a visa to become available before they can move on to the second step of applying for their immigrant visa. immediate relatives are not subject to a waiting period and may apply for an immigrant visa following approval of the family petition.

Every consular processing is different depending on the basis of eligibility. But most will require civil documents and appointment letters be presented, together with medical examination reports, and relevant supporting documents like financial statements, relationship evidence, or job offer letters.

Although every consulate is different, once the interview is completed, the consulate will notify the beneficiary of the petition’s approval and issue the immigrant visa which will allow the beneficiary to obtain a green card upon arrival in the United States.




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Frequently Asked Questions

Consular Processing is a method by which individuals outside the United States can apply for an immigrant visa through a U.S. embassy or consulate to gain lawful permanent resident status.

Consular Processing is for those outside the U.S., while Adjustment of Status is for those already in the country who wish to change their current status to permanent residency status without leaving the U.S.

Yes, even if you are in the U.S., you can choose to go through Consular Processing in your home country. However, it is crucial that you consult with an Immigration expert prior to leaving the country as departing the United States under the wrong conditions may trigger a multi-year bar on re-entry.

Due to processing times, quotas and visa preferences, eligibility for a visa will depend on where the person is from, and the Family or Employment-category of the petition. Every month, the U.S. State Department publishes the Visa Bulletn which lets people know when their number is up and when they may apply to come to the United States.

There are several reasons why a visa may be denied at an interview. The officer usually goes through questions to determine whether your relative is “admissible” to the United States. If any of the grounds of inadmissibility apply, the officer may deny the visa. However, there may be a waiver available for certain grounds, such as fraud, prior unlawful presence, prior removal order, certain criminal grounds, health-related grounds, and alien smuggling. For more information about whether your family member may qualify for a waiver.

How do I pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee?
The fee is typically paid online after receiving your visa but before departing for the U.S. It’s required for processing your Green Card. You can visit the Immigrant Visa Fee webpage (


Can my family accompany me through Consular Processing?
Depending on your visa category, certain family members might be eligible to apply for accompanying or derivative visas. This will depend on the specific visa you are pursuing and the eligibility category. At Massa Viana, we will help you take the guesswork out of the process and plan for your family to be together in the United States.

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