When we speak of Consular Process, we refer to the method that immigrants use to obtain permanent residence when they are outside of the United States.
Through this process, the beneficiary of an immigration petition requests a US immigrant visa at a US Consulate or Embassy in the country in which they reside, being one of the 2 existing ways to obtain a Green Card.
Let’s dive a little deeper into this useful and interesting topic.
Consular Process vs. Adjustment of Status
The objective in both processes is the same: for an immigrant to obtain legal permanent residence; what varies is that while one takes place within the United States, the other takes place outside the United States.
Consular Process: The beneficiary of an approved immigrant visa petition and who already has a visa number, who is abroad, can apply for a Green Card at the United States Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence.
Adjustment of Status: An eligible person who is already within the United States can apply for a Green Card, without having to return to their country of origin to complete the process from there.
What are the steps of the Consular Process?
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To obtain a Green Card through a Consular Process you must carry out the following steps:
- File Form I-130: The first step is for the applicant to visit the Embassy or Consulate and file Form I-130: Petition for an Alien Relative, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and wait to be approved.
- Pre-processing at the National Visa Center: Once the USCIS approves Form I-130, it sends it to the National Visa Center, where it’s pre-processed. At this time, the applicant is required to submit a series of supporting documents to the National Visa Center.
- Interview at the US Embassy or Consulate: After the National Visa Center has completed pre-processing, the petition is transferred to the US Consulate or Embassy abroad, who reviews and schedules a interview with the applicant.
- Receipt of Visa: If everything goes well in the interview, the applicant is required to leave his passport at the US Embassy or Consulate so that his visa can be placed in it. Finally, once the applicant goes to collect his passport, he is given a sealed envelope that he must deliver in this way to the Customs Officer so that he can be admitted to the United States.
How long does the Consular Process take?
As there are 3 different entities involved in the Consular Process: The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, the National Visa Center and the American Consulate or Embassy where the interview will be held, the process will take 6 to 12 months to complete when This is an immediate relative, such as a spouse, minor child, or parent of a US citizen. However, the processing time may be longer when the person immigrates through a family preference category.
There are also other factors that directly influence the consular processing time, such as the speed with which the applicant submits the necessary supporting documents and the workload that the USCIS has at that time.
Who may need the Consular Process?
- People outside the United States.
- Persons who are within the United States, but who prefer to be processed at a United States Embassy or Consulate for convenience or because they cannot adjust their status in the United States due to admission problems.
When does the Consular Process really start?
This process actually begins when the Form I-130 has already been approved by the USCIS and the visa bulletin shows that the priority date is in effect for obtaining lawful permanent residence.
What are the advantages offered by Consular Process on an Adjustment of Status?
- It’s the best option for foreigners who want to emigrate to the United States and have no other way to enter the country legally.
- It’s ideal for people who need to travel frequently outside the United States, whether for work, business or personal reasons.
- Significantly reduces the risk of being rejected.
- It’s a faster process than adjustment of status and the processing fee is lower.
- Consular Officers don’t have the discretion to deny a visa, while USCIS officers do. When the procedure is denied, the Consular Officer must justify it through objective and specific evidence.
What happens if your request for Consular Process is rejected?
Unlike adjustment of status, Consular Officers must follow strict guidelines and have little room to reject at their own discretion, which is why there are fewer options for them to reject the application, if things are done right.
However, there is no appeal system for Consular Procedure, so you must make sure that you carry out the process well, from the beginning.
At Tramites de Inmigracion USA Corp we have experienced immigration lawyers who will advise and support you throughout this process, so that you can obtain your legal permanent residence without major setbacks.
Save yourself headaches! Call now at 1 (786) 776-7152 or 1 (786) 786-5088.