There are certain visas that must be applied for and processed at one of the U.S. consulates in other countries around the world. As a consequence of U.S. policy and a global pandemic, there were more than 473,000 pending immigrant visas in February 2021 compared to 75,000 in January 2020. Although obtaining an immigrant visa can be a long process, the rewards of receiving one can change lives.
At Corbaci Law, P.C., we understand the desire so many people have to be granted permanent residency in the U.S. That is why our law practice is dedicated to helping people navigate the often complicated consular processing of immigrant and non-immigrant visas. We hope we can help those seeking a new home in Woburn, Massachusetts, Boston, Marlborough, Framingham, and beyond.
Consular processing is the application and interview procedure persons in other countries undergo to obtain an immigrant visa to come to the U.S. legally. Petitions, applications, and interviews are handled by the U.S. consulate in other countries.
The process begins with petitioning the U.S. State Department for a permanent residency card, also known as a “green card.” Categories of eligibility for a green card include:
Family of U.S. citizens and those with permanent residency
Employment in the U.S.
Asylum or refugee status
Victims of violent crime and human trafficking
Victims of abuse
Selection via the diversity lottery program
Special immigrant status, including certain juveniles, Afghan or Iraqi nationals, and others
There are eight major steps of consular processing of an immigrant visa.
Determination of your eligibility for a permanent residency card.
File the corresponding immigrant petition.
Await the decision regarding the immigrant petition from the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Wait for the National Visa Center to notify you regarding the scheduling of your interview at the consulate
Advise the National Visa Center of any changes to the information you submitted in your original petition while awaiting your interview
Visit the consulate for your interview. The interview allows a consular official to verify the information in the immigration petition and to check your background and medical and financial history. If the basis for your application is marriage to a U.S. citizen, you will be asked personal questions to ensure the marriage is not fraudulent.
If you are granted an immigrant visa, you will receive a sealed “Visa Packet” and pay a USCIS immigrant fee before departing for the U.S.
Your permanent resident card will be mailed to your U.S. address.
If the USCIS approves your immigrant visa, a consular official will give you a Visa Packet. The packet will be sealed and must remain sealed until a USCIS official opens it upon your arrival in the U.S.
You will need to pay an immigration fee after you receive your packet and before you arrive in the U.S. This fee can be paid online. It is currently $220 and is waived for some immigrants under special circumstances. If you cannot afford the fee, someone can pay it on your behalf.
You may then travel to the U.S. with your sealed Visa Packet. It will be opened by USCIS officials, and your identity confirmed. Your permanent resident card will be mailed to you at your U.S. address.
Consular processing is not necessarily easy. You may need to travel some distance from where you live to the assigned U.S. Consulate. The immigration petition requests substantial information and numerous supporting documents. It is important that throughout consular processing, the information you provide is complete, honest, and current. Language and cultural barriers may make the process even more stressful. That is why it is a good decision to have immigration attorneys assisting you throughout the process.
At Corbaci Law, P.C., we are committed to helping our clients through consular processing from petition to the arrival of their green card in the U.S. mail. We have personally experienced the positive and negative aspects of immigration. We use our experience and expertise to help those who want to come to the U.S. find their way.