Consular Processing

Becoming a U.S. Permanent Resident

Do you want to be admitted to the U.S. as a permanent resident?

An individual who is the beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition and has an immigrant visa number immediately available may apply at a U.S. Department of State Consulate abroad for an immigrant visa in order to come to the United States and be admitted as a permanent resident. This pathway is referred to as “consular processing.”

Steps for Consular Processing – The eight steps to getting your green card. We can help you now; call us at (407) 415-1423.

The 8 Steps to a Green Card.

1) Determine Your Basis to Immigrate.

The first step in consular processing is to determine if you fit into a specific immigrant category. Most immigrants become eligible for a green card (permanent residence) through a petition filed on their behalf by a family member or employer.

Family Based

Family based categories require that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.

Employment Based

Employment based categories most often require the intending U.S. employer to file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. Entrepreneurs who intend to invest significant amounts of capital into a business venture in the United States may file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur” on their own behalf.

2) File the Appropriate Petition

Although immigrant petitions are filed with USCIS, in some cases, an I-130 petition may be filed for an immediate relative (spouse, child, or parent of a U.S. citizen) with a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Situations where this may be applicable include:

If the U.S. citizen has been authorized to be continuously residing within the jurisdiction of the consular office for at least the previous 6 months.

Members of the military

Emergency situations

Situations involving the health or safety of the petitioner

When in the national interests of the United States

3) Wait for a Decision on Your Petition

USCIS notifies the petitioner of a decision. If the petition is denied, the notice will include the reasons for denying the petition and any rights to appeal the decision. If the petition is approved and if you are the beneficiary of the petition and living outside the United States or living in the United States, but choose to apply for your immigrant visa abroad, USCIS will then send the approved petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC), where it will remain until an immigrant visa number is available.

4) Wait for Notification from the National Visa Center

The National Visa Center, which is responsible for the collection of visa application fees and supporting documentation, will notify the petitioner and beneficiary when the visa petition is received and again when an immigrant visa number is about to become available. They will also notify the petitioner and beneficiary of when they must submit immigrant visa processing fees (commonly referred to as “fee bills”) and when supporting documentation must be submitted.

5) Go to Your Appointment and Be on Time

Once a visa is available or a beneficiary’s priority date is current (earlier than the cut-off date listed in the monthly Visa Bulletin), the consular office will schedule the applicant for an interview. The consular office will complete processing of the applicant’s case and decide if the beneficiary is eligible for an immigrant visa.

6) Notify the National Visa Center of Any Changes

The beneficiary should contact the NVC if there is a change in their personal situation or change of address. It is 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 or visa availability.

7) After Your Visa is Granted

If you are granted an immigrant visa, the consular officer will give you a packet of information. This packet is known as a “Visa Packet.” You should not open this packet.

Upon your 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 and if found admissible, will be admitted as a permanent resident of the United States, which gives you the authority to live and work in the United States permanently.

8) Receive Your Green Card

You will be mailed your green card. If you do not receive your green card within 30 days of your arrival, please contact our office.