Consular Processing is one of
the options for a beneficiary of a family or employment-based petition to become
a permanent resident. Consular Process requires an approved immigrant petition
and an available visa number, then the foreign national applies for an immigrant
visa at a U.S. consulate overseas. If the beneficiary of the approved petition
is in the United States, he or she may be eligible for
adjustment of status rather
than consular processing.
you file I-130 petition (for family-based green cards) or I-140 petition (for
employment-based green cards), you can decide whether to apply for adjustment of
status or consular processing. This process describes what happens when you
choose consular processing.
After the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves the
immigrant petition, the USCIS forwards the approval notice (the I-797 Notice
of Action) to the National Visa Center (NVC). If the immigrant petition did
not select consular processing, you may file Form I-824 to request consular
processing. This process takes four to six weeks.
The NVC sends an information and forms packet (called a “Packet 3”) to you
when an immigrant visa number becomes available. You should receive the
Packet 3 within two or three weeks after the immigrant visa number has
You and your family must complete the forms and provide the information
requested in Packet 3 and return it to the NVC.
The NVC processes the Packet 3. This takes about 4-6 weeks.
The NVC notifies the State Department Visa Office of the completed Packet 3
processing and requests allocation of visa numbers for the alien and his
family. This will happen in about 10 days.
The NVC schedules an immigrant visa processing appointment for you and your
family at the U.S. consulate which will issue an immigrant visa. You must
attend the appointment at the U.S. consulate abroad. Processing the
immigrant visa will take approximately 8-10 weeks, unless there are problems
with security. Once you enter the
United States with your immigrant visa, you are a lawful permanent resident
of the United States.
basic benefit of applying for Consular Processing is that you may become a
permanent resident faster than through adjustment of status. The time frame for
Consular Processing is between 5 and 13 months, after your immigrant petition is
need the following documents for Consular Processing:
- The Original I-797 approval notice for your I-130 or I-140 immigrant
- Consular Processing application forms;
- A copy of the immigrant petition as filed;
- The receipt notice for Form I-824 (if you requested consular processing
when filing your immigrant petition) or the approval notice for Form I-824
(if you requested consular processing after filing your immigrant petition);
- Medical exam;
- Birth Certificate;
- Military Records, if applicable;
- Marriage Certificates, if applicable;
- Documentation of termination of prior marriages (e.g. divorce decree or
death certificate), if applicable;
- Evidence that your last residence was in the host country of the embassy
- Employment information for the past 10 years;
- Address since the age of 16; and,
- Police certificates from every country where you have resided for one
year or more since the age of 16.
documents in a foreign language must be translated into English.