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Consular Processing is the second step of the immigrant visa process for a beneficiary of a family or employment-based immigrant visa petition to become a permanent resident from outside the United States. Learn how our consular processing lawyers in Miami, Florida can help.
What is Consular Processing?
Consular Processing requires an approved immigrant visa petition and an available visa number, and then the foreign national can file documents at the National Visa Center to get scheduled for an immigrant visa appointment at a U.S. consulate overseas in the country where they live.
What is a Consular Processing Lawyer?
A Consular Processing Lawyer is an Immigration Lawyer who helps immigrants apply for immigration visas, both inside the United States and abroad using Consular Processing. He or she understands the complexities of a case like this, the time it should take, and is able to guide you through the process and help you file a strong application that includes the right evidence to ensure your case is strong and can be quickly adjudicated.
What is the process to apply for Consular Processing with a lawyer?
Step 1: Determine Your Basis to Immigrate
Before initiating the Consular Processing phase of an immigrant visa case, you must determine which specific immigrant category you would fit into. Most immigrants immigrate through a petition filed on their behalf by a family member, employer or by him/herself. A family visa, employment or investment visa petition must be filed and approved before your case will be forwarded to the National Visa Center for processing. Talk to an experienced immigration attorney to know which petition is best for you considering your goals and circumstances.
Step 2: File the Immigrant Petition
Once you have consulted with an immigration attorney to know which immigration category is appropriate for your situation, you may file the immigrant visa petition or have one filed on your behalf.
Family-based immigration refers to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and other close family members of U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are parents, spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21, and they are not subject to any numerical limit and do not have to wait for a visa number like other family members in the preference categories do. Other close family members of U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) are subject to a numerical limit on the immigrant visas that can be granted each year, they are separated into several groups called “preferences.” Family-based categories require that the U.S. citizen or LPR relative file a Form 1-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on their relative’s behalf. Employment-based immigration petitions in most cases are filed by an employer on behalf of their employee. Sometimes, the immigration petition may be filed by the foreign individual herself, such as for EB-1(a), NIW, and EB-5 petitions. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas yearly, which are divided among five preference categories. Employment-based categories most often require the intending U.S. employer to file a Form I-140 (Petition for an Alien Worker) for the Beneficiary Employee.
Step 3: Wait for a Decision on Your Petition
USCIS will consider your immigration petition and notify the petitioner (depending on the petition, this may the employer or the foreign national’s U.S. citizen or LPR family member) of the decision. If the petition is approved and if you are living outside of the United States (or living in the United States but chose to apply for your visa through consular processing), USCIS will then send the approved petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC). It will remain at the NVC until an immigrant visa number is available. The wait time for an immigrant visa number varies based on your home country and which visa for which you are applying.
Step 4: Wait for Notification from the National Visa Center
NVC will notify the petitioner and beneficiary and attorney of record when they receive the visa petition and again when an immigrant visa number is almost available. They will also notify the parties and attorney when they must submit immigrant visa processing fees and submit supporting documentation. One good thing about having an attorney on your case is that your Consular Processing Lawyer will also receive a copy of the email, in case you and or your spouse do not check email often or missed it.
Several documents are required for an immigrant visa through consular processing, including the immigrant petition approval notice, a copy of the passport or travel document, police certificates and or certified copies of criminal and military records, birth certificates, and documents of identity and proving the relationship with the Petitioner. Further, an I-864 Affidavit of Support and DS-230 Application for an Immigrant Visa must be completed with accuracy along with supporting documentation. The online system to submit these forms is cumbersome and finicky, so be sure you use an experienced Miami Consular Processing Lawyer to help you file the applications seamlessly. Once the fees have been received and the case is documentarily complete, the NVC will forward the file to the U.S. Consulate in the country where the interview will take place. The consular post will send the Beneficiary a letter when the interview has been scheduled and giving further instructions concerning the appointment, documents to bring, and the medical exam.
Step 5: Go to Your Appointment
Finally, the consular office schedules the interview with the applicant. Usually, the designated consulate is in the beneficiary’s place of current residence or last place of residence abroad, not necessarily the country of nationality. The consular office will complete processing of the applicant’s case and decide if the beneficiary is eligible for an immigrant visa. The consular office’s job is to review – not re-adjudicate – the already-approved underlying petition. If a consular office feels it necessary, they may return the petition to the USCIS to request reconsideration and revocation. Thus, it is very important that your Consular Processing Lawyer prepares you for this interview and what to expect to ensure there are no hiccups at the interview that could jeopardize your case.
Step 6: Notify the National Visa Center of Any Changes
You are not required to contact the NVC about your petition, as they will contact you if they are in need of information from you. However, is always very important to notify the NVC if you reach the age of 21 for a child or have a change in your marital status, as this may affect your eligibility.
Step 7: After your Visa is Granted
If you are granted an immigrant visa, the consular office will send you a packet of information known as a “Visa Packet.” You SHOULD NOT open this packet. Upon arrival to the United States, you should give your Visa Packet to the Customs and Border Protection officer at the port of entry. You will be inspected by a Customs and Border Protection officer who has the authority to deny you entry into the United States. If you are found admissible, you will be admitted as a permanent resident of the United States. This gives you authority to live and work in the United States permanently. The USCIS will mail you your green card within three months of your arrival in the United States.
Applying to immigrate through a U.S. consulate can be a complex process, which is why we recommend you seek the advice of an experienced Miami Consular Processing attorney.
How can a Consular Processing Lawyer help?
When you’re dealing with an immigration matter of any nature it is always the best practice to involve an experienced attorney in the matter. Doing so can better ensure that all of the actions you take are executed efficiently and accurately. Under the representation of an immigration attorney at Immigration Lawyers USA, your case will be in the hands of a competent and qualified team that has more than 10 years of experience. We know how the system works, and we know what it takes to move your case forward through the immigration process. Don’t wait to contact us today to learn more about Consular Processing or any other matter related to immigration law in the state of Florida or any state in the USA.
Hire the Top Consular Processing Lawyers in Miami, Florida!
Now that you know why having an experienced Consular Processing Lawyer is necessary, it’s time to hire one at Immigration Lawyers USA! We have some of the best Immigration Lawyers in Miami, Florida and in the United States. We’re highly experienced in Consular Processing law and will fight hard to make your case as strong as possible with our close attention to detail and our over 12 years of experience. If you’re looking for a firm with great reviews that can guide you through the process, give Immigration Lawyers USA a call at 305-501-0783 or schedule with us below!