Consular processing is the journey for a foreigner that desires to obtain permanent residence status (a green card) in the United States while he or she is still in a foreign country. The process begins when an immigrant applies by filing a petition, usually family or employment based. It is critical to submit the proper documents and any additional information necessary in order to avoid delays in the processing of the petition. After the petition is approved, you will receive a notification from the National Visa Center requesting an interview.
The interview may seem daunting, but if the applicant plans ahead of time and prepares for the appointment, then everything should go smoothly. Although it may vary from case to case, the applicant should plan to bring the following documents:
- Certificates of any marriages, divorces, births and/or deaths
- Medical examination (do NOT open the sealed envelope)
- Employment information
- Immigration papers
- Other important records (taxes, payroll, W-2s, criminal, military)
Attending the interview is similar to any other interview. It allows the consular officer to meet face-to-face with the applicant in an effort to welcome the applicant to the United States as well as determine if they are truly eligible. The applicant should try to make a good impression — dress for success and be on time — and understand the purpose and importance of the interview. The applicant should answer any questions truthfully.
It is important to notify the National Visa Center if you move. This is often forgotten by applicants, but it is crucial in order for USCIS to contact you. Other important changes are the applicant’s marital status or a child reaching the age of 21. These things may affect your eligibility.
The Consulate Office will then contact the applicant and let them know if the visa has been granted. If so, the consular officer will give the applicant a packet to bring with them upon arriving in the United States. No more than two months later, the applicant should receive their green card by mail.
Although this process may seem straightforward, unfortunately, there are many denials on these types of cases. Sometimes cases are denied because it is an extremely difficult embassy due to past problems with fraudulent applications. Therefore, even in the best of circumstances, it is highly recommended that qualified legal counsel from the United States be consulted before undertaking a consular case.
Cynthia I. Waisman focuses her practice in the area of immigration law. Contact our Tampa Bay offices at 727-219-9009 today to discuss your case. We are here to help you obtain the benefits you deserve.