If you are outside of the United States, then you may have to go through consular processing in order to obtain a visa or green card. This requires you to attend appointments and interviews at your local consulate. This is often done through family-based immigration or other types, depending on your current visa or goals. Your consulate will complete biometrics as well as a background interview that requires information about your purpose and connections in the United States.
Solano Law Firm assists clients with their comprehensive immigration needs, including consular processing. This is one of the systems that grants legal permanent residency to eligible family members. Unfortunately, it can also be confusing and time-intensive. Learn more about consular process and how Solano Law Firm can help.
What Is Consular Processing?
As a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, your family might be eligible for visas and greed cards. There are two forms of family based immigration systems in the United States:
- Adjustment of status: converts a non-immigrant visa (like a student visa or K-1 visa) into a legal permanent resident
- Consular processing: the immigration process that gives family members living outside the United States a green card
At Solano Law Firm, we understand the importance of family reunification. Our experienced immigration lawyers guide families through both adjustments of status and consular processing. There are also different processes available for employers who need visas for their employees and for entrepreneurs and other highly talented individuals.
If you’re unsure which family based immigration system is right for your loved ones, request a free consultation with the team at Solano Law Firm. We’ll listen to your story, assess your needs and eligibility, and educate you about your legal options. Our bilingual team is happy to do this in either English or Spanish.
What Should You Expect During Consular Processing?
Like an immigration process, consular processing is a long and complicated journey. You’ll need to provide immigration authorities with a large amount of information. This typically involves the following:
- Filing a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative on behalf of your family member
- Waiting for the U.S. government to process and approve your petition
- Filing a Form DS-260, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration
- Compiling documents that support your loved one’s application
- Attending a consular interview or appointment
If your family member’s successfully completes this process, they will receive a visa packet and can enter the United States as a legal immigrant. United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) will issue your loved one a green card after they arrive in the U.S.
How Long Will Consular Processing Take?
The duration of your loved one’s consular processing will depend on a series of factors. If you are a U.S. citizen who is requesting a visa for your spouse, fiancé, parent, or unmarried child under the age of 21, the process might take a year or less. However, the waits are significantly longer if you are:
- A U.S. citizen requesting a visa for a sibling, married child, or a child who is 21 years old or more
- A legal permanent resident who is filing a visa application for a spouse or unmarried child who is younger than 21 years old
The United States limits the number of visas that are available to these types of family members. To learn more about the availability of visas as well as your expected timelines, contact Solano Law Firm for a personalized assessment of your loved one’s immigration case.
How an Immigration Attorney Can Help
Our immigration attorneys have guided many families through consular processing. We do more than complete forms. We also:
- Provide accurate information and practical advice about immigration law
- Help families collect the right documents and evidence to support their cases
- Ensure that the information on our clients’ petitions and supporting forms is accurate as well as complies with federal laws
- Assess rejected and denied petition and evaluate our clients’ appeal options
- Prepare you for the Consulate Interview by walking you through the entire interview process step by step
We know how important your loved one’s green card is to you and your family. That’s why we work tirelessly on behalf of our clients and spend significant time educating our clients. Consular process can be a long and confusing journey — our goal is to make it feel less overwhelming.
Where Does Consular Processing Take Place?
Consular processing typically must take place in your loved one’s home country. The U.S. embassy or consulate there will process as well as evaluate their eligibility for a green card. If your loved one is still in their home country, this isn’t a significant challenge. However, if they are already in the United States and do not have a valid visa, you should consult with an immigration attorney before initiating consular processing.
If the federal government discovers that your loved one was living as an undocumented immigrant in the United States, they can impose significant penalties. The consulate will bar them from entering the U.S. for three years if their stay was between 180 days and a year. If they were undocumented residents of the United States for more than a year, the bar increases to ten years.
While it’s tempting to just lie about a loved one’s undocumented status, this could result in immigration fraud charges. Instead, speak with an immigration lawyer at Solano Law Firm. We help our clients understand the complexities of the United States immigration system and guide them through its challenges. To request a free consultation, contact us today.
Learn More About Obtaining a Green Card Through Consular Processing and Your Legal Options
Solano Law Firm assists families with consular processing and their other immigration needs. If you’d like to learn more about family based immigration and your loved one’s eligibility, contact us for a free consultation. We’ll help you understand both your legal options and our approach to legal permanent residency cases.