The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) was created in 1952 to organize and consolidate all aspects of immigration law. Under INA, immigrants are offered two separate pathways to achieve a green card – through an adjustment of status, as well as through consular processing. The second is available for immigrants who are a beneficiary of an immigration petition and who have all already received their visa number. This is especially useful for those who do not currently live in the United States and are therefore not eligible to apply for an adjustment of status. A New York immigration attorney at our firm can be contacted to help you understand the stipulations of this act and how they could directly influence your case.

Those who qualify will be able to apply for their immigrant visa at a U.S. Department of State consulate abroad, hence the term “consular processing.” Those who are interested in becoming a permanent resident through consular processing should first look to determine whether they are eligible under any of the categories that encompass this process. Typically, an immigrant will become eligible should they have had a petition filed on their behalf – this is typically done by a family member or an employer.

The categories for having a petition filed include the following:

  • Family based
  • Employment based
  • Special classes of immigrants
  • Humanitarian programs
  • One the petition has been filed, you will need to wait for approval by the USCIS and you are indeed living abroad, the petition will be sent to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC). It will wait there until a visa number becomes available. Once it is received and once a number has been assigned, the petitioner will receive a notification from the NVC. They will also let you know when it is time to submit the fees for processing the visa and when any supporting documentation is required.

    The NVA will then schedule an interview with you and complete all processing. If you are determined to be eligible for the visa, you will be contacted and given a packet of information known as a “Visa Packet.” This will be sealed and should not be opened. This will be given to the Customs and Border Protection officer at your Port of Entry for inspection. If accepted, you will be allowed entry into the U.S. as a permanent resident. Your green card should be mailed to you within 30 days of your entry.

    Advantages of Consular Processing

    There are many advantages to pursuing a green card through consular processing. The primary benefit is that it is a much faster process than attempting to pursue permanent residency through an adjustment of status. Although every case will vary, the timeline will generally be about six to twelve months, whereas an adjustment of status could take up to two years. Another advantage for many people is that people are able to apply while they are residing in another country, whereas an adjustment of status can only be sought while residing in the United States. This can be extremely beneficial to those who are currently not admitted into the country. The process has also been found to have a lower chance of refusal.

    Contact a New York Immigration Lawyer Today

    If you are interested consular processing or if you would like to discuss your options for becoming a lawful permanent resident (LPR), then we encourage you to contact a member of our firm today. We know how important it is to achieve an immigrant visa to pursue the American dream. At our firm, we can help. To schedule your initial consultation or to discuss your case in more detail, we encourage you to give us a call today. You can also take advantage of our online case evaluation by filling out our firm. Just fill out the fields as best as possible to send us a message directly – we will be in touch with you as soon as we can.