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Consular Processing to Become a Permanent Resident

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There are two primary paths to obtaining permanent resident status in the United States: adjustment of status and consular processing. While adjustment of status is only available to individuals inside the U.S., consular processing is a pathway to permanent residence available to individuals outside of the U.S. and to those already residing in the country. Unlike non-immigrant visas, immigrant visas obtained through consular processing will permit individuals to live indefinitely in the U.S., as well as seek employment.

How Consular Processing Works

  • Determining Eligibility: The first step in consular processing is to determine the basis for immigration. There are many different ways to become eligible for permanent residence, or a green card. Once the immigrant category is determined, immigrant petitions can be filed. This can include family-based and employment-based immigration and diversity lotteries.
  • USCIS Notification: The USCIS will notify applicants about the decision of their petition. If denied, notifications will include reasons for the denials and information about appealing the decision.
  • Consulate Review & Interview: If approved, the USCIS will send the petition to the National Visa Center, where it will remain until an immigrant visa number is available. This step is for applicants residing outside of the country. After a period of review, petitions will then be sent to the consulate of the country in which the applicant is residing. Additional forms will be required, as well an immigrant visa interview, which takes place at the appropriate consulate.

How Long Does Consular Processing Take?

Cases will always vary depending on the unique circumstances involved. Generally, consular processing has a shorter processing time than adjustment of status proceeding, usually around four to six months rather than several years. Consular processing also has a lower risk of petition refusals.

Waivers for Unlawful Presence

Certain laws and provisions passed by the USCIS allow for spouses and children of U.S. citizens who are eligible for a visa to immigrate legally to the U.S. to obtain a waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence. This waiver will be granted to spouses and children before leaving the United States and undertaking consular processing in their home country. If your situation involves a period of unlawful presence, our legal team will help you determine how you can obtain a waiver of inadmissibility prior to consular processing.

Experienced Attorneys for Consular Processing

Consular processing requires ample documentation and information. The procedure also involves a large amount of procedures and guidelines that must be met. At Robert Brown LLC, our legal team of immigration lawyers is prepared to use our experience, insight, and familiarity with the immigration process to help applicants successfully file petitions and fulfill consular processing procedures.

If you would like to discuss your immigration case and learn more about consular processing as a possible pathway to permanent residence, contact our firm today.

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