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Proudly Serving Dallas, FT.Worth, San Antonio, Houston.
Consular processing is when a foreign national applies for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Consular processing can be used to Bring a Spouse to the USA.
We will discuss the basics of consular processing, including how to apply, the cost, the processing time, and the differences between consular processing and adjustment of status.
As an established immigration attorney in Texas, we handle both consular processing applications and adjustment of status filings. If you have any questions you need to be answered, we are here to help.
Consular processing and status adjustment are two ways an individual can apply for lawful permanent residence in the U.S.
Adjustment of status allows certain foreign nationals already present in the United States to apply for permanent residence without leaving the country. Conversely, consular processing involves applying for a U.S. green card at a U.S. embassy or consulate outside the United States.
It is mainly the location where the visas are processed that distinguishes these two processes.
Consular processing is typically more complicated and time-consuming than adjustment of status. Consular processing involves navigating the requirements and procedures of USCIS and the Department of State.
Applicants must also travel to their home country or country with a U.S. embassy or consulate to complete consular processing. This can be a costly, logistically challenging, and risky process.
As opposed to consular processing, adjustment of status generally involves less extensive background checks and security clearances. However, adjustment of status is only available to certain foreign nationals who are already present in the United States, and not all applicants are eligible for this process.
The first step is to file an immigrant petition on behalf of the foreign national family member. This is a critical step because consular officers rely heavily on this information when deciding on visa issuance. This petition is filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) using Form I-130, also called a Petition for Alien Relative.
After USCIS reviews and approves the petition, they’ll forward the approved immigrant petition to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing. At this stage, an immigrant visa number, an important identification and tracking tool, is assigned to the application.
The NVC sends the petitioner and the visa applicants a notice of receipt and instructions on completing the necessary forms and submitting the required supporting documentation. Understanding and adhering to these instructions is vital, as any errors or omissions can lead to delays in the processing of your application.
Applicants for immigrant visas will be required to attend an interview with a consular interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. This interview, held in the foreign country of residence, is a chance for consular officers to verify information in the application and gauge the candidate’s eligibility for immigration.
The consular officer at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate will tell you whether or not your application for an immigrant visa has been approved or denied. If approved, you are a step closer to becoming lawful permanent residents of the United States. You will be notified when your passport and visa have been approved.
The cost of consular immigrant visa processing fees may vary depending on the type of immigrant visa sought and the country where the foreign national will apply for the visa.
Current fees in 2023 are as follows:
Consular processing time can vary depending on several factors, such as:
The NVC will provide an estimated time frame for processing after receiving the approved I-130 petition from USCIS.
Upon completion of the NVC’s processing, the case will be forwarded to the U.S. embassy or consulate for a consular interview, after which the applicant will be notified of the outcome.
The entire process can take several months or even years in some cases.
A change from consular processing to adjustment of status is generally not possible after consular processing has begun. However, in some cases, a foreign national may be eligible to switch from consular processing to adjustment of status if their circumstances change.
Eligibility requires the foreign national to have a current priority date and a visa number available and must meet all other requirements for adjustment of status.
To switch to adjustment of status, the foreign national must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with USCIS. If the I-485 is approved, the foreign national will be granted permanent residence without having to leave the United States to attend an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as whether to pursue consular processing or adjustment of status will depend on the case’s specific circumstances.
Consular processing may be a better option for foreign nationals outside the United States who wish to obtain an immigrant visa quickly.
Adjustment of status may be a better option for foreign nationals who are already in the United States and wish to avoid the time and expense of travel to their home country for an immigrant visa interview.
Individual circumstances of each case to be considered include:
Find out which process is best for you by contacting a skilled immigration lawyer.
Consular processing is a complex process that requires careful planning and attention to detail. Therefore, it is essential to work with an experienced immigration attorney to ensure all requirements are met and maximize the chances of a successful outcome.
If you’re looking for a reliable and knowledgeable immigration attorney in Texas, look no further than our law firm. With years of experience in immigration law, we provide personalized and compassionate representation to help our clients achieve their immigration goals.
Whether you’re seeking to reunite with family members, obtain a work visa, or become a lawful permanent resident, our team of experienced attorneys is here to guide you through the complex immigration process.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward achieving your immigration goals.