Consular processing immigration law

Guiding you through consular processing

consular processing for us visas

We help you to maximize your chances of success at the U.S. embassy

Are you thinking about applying for a temporary visa to come to the United States to visit or to work? Or perhaps you want to come to the United States to live permanently? If you need to apply for a visa at a U.S. embassy, you may need some guidance to help you through consular processing. We can help you better understand the visa requirements and prepare you for the visa interview with the consular officer, as we are experienced in helping many other visa applicants throughout this process.

Consular processing & immigration process

Consular Processing

Consular process is the procedure through which a person applies for an immigrant visa via the U.S. embassy or consulate in a foreign country.

Eligibility to apply for a green card:

In a family-based immigration process, a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident must petition certain family members to live in the U.S. and file Form I-130 (Petition for alien relative) on behalf of the immigration applicant. The beneficiary must either be the immediate relative or fall within the family preference categories. U.S. citizens can also file Form I-129F (Petition for alien fiancé) if they want to bring their fiancé to the U.S.

In an employment-based immigration process, the visa applicant will require an approved I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker that has been submitted by an employer or by the foreign national, if self-petitioned.

embassy of the united states of america us citizens

Approval on the I-130/I-140 petition:

Once the petition has been submitted, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will review it and notify the petitioner if they have accepted or rejected it. If the petition is approved and a visa number is available, they will send the approved petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center.

National Visa Center:

Get a visa number:

The National Visa Center will then notify the petitioner and beneficiary when the immigrant visa will be available. They will be responsible for collecting the visa application fees and the supporting documents. Once the I-130 petition is approved and the visa is available, then the beneficiary can apply for a green card through consular processing.

Application for immigrant visa:

Next, the beneficiary will have to submit the application for immigrant Visa and alien registration (Form DS-260). The National Visa Center will require the petitioner to submit Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support) in a family-based green card process to ensure that the U.S. citizen is financially sponsoring the beneficiary. In an employment-based green card process there is no such requirement.

Appointment for consular processing:

Lastly, the consular office will schedule an interview with the beneficiary where the officer will conduct complete processing of the applicant’s case and decide if he/she should be granted the immigrant visa or not. If the consular officer grants an immigrant visa to the applicant then he will give him or her a Visa Packet, which the applicant will have to submit to the Customs and Border Protection officer at the port of entry upon arrival to the U.S.

How to get through a visa application process successfully

Consular processing can be an intimidating process if a visa applicant is unprepared. Oftentimes mistakes can be avoided if a visa applicant has a better understanding of the visa requirements and what the visa application process involves. To be better prepared, a visa applicant should always do the following:

  • Understand the specific requirements for the type of visa applied. If the visa application is based on a marriage to a US citizen, for example, the visa applicant has to prove that the marriage is real and not just for immigration purposes. If the visa application is based on employment, the visa applicant must be able to establish that the position is still available and the applicant continues to be qualified to assume the position.
  • Complete DS-260 Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration thoroughly and accurately. Consular officers will review this information and may largely decide the fate of the visa application based on the information contained in the DS-260 Form. Therefore, it is critical for the applicant to state the information completely and truthfully. Any omissions or misrepresentations may end up in a visa denial.
  • Practice ahead of time answering possible questions during a visa interview. If a visa applicant has an attorney, seek guidance early on to help prepare for the interview. For a first-time visa applicant, being in a visa interview can be a stressful event, but by practicing ahead of time the visa applicant will likely feel more confident during the interview and less likely to make mistakes.

The two most common options for U.S. immigration are family-based immigration and adjustment of status. However, if the applicant resides outside the U.S., then the only available option to them is consular processing.

  • Before you apply for a family-based immigrant visa it is important for your sponsoring relative to properly fill out and file I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must approve this petition, following which the sponsoring relative must complete, sign and submit an Affidavit of Support to ensure that he/she has resources to support the immigrant in the U.S.
  • If you are engaged or married to someone living in the U.S. then there is a greater chance that you can get a family-based visa. In order to obtain a green card you will have to file two forms i.e. the I-130 Form and I-485 Form along with the required photographs and documentation. Then, you will have to pay the required fees to the government agencies and get your biometrics completed. Once that it is done, you will have to undergo an interview with an immigration agent who shall either approve or deny your application.

Potential problems during consular processing

Identifying your family’s situation

How your application could get denied

Consular Processing can be complicated because it often involves having to prove eligibility for a visa category with extensive documentation and generally having to interview for the visa in front of a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, where there is no right to legal counsel or the right to appeal. we can help streamline this process by anticipating potential issues and guide you to better address them in advance.

Potential problems during consular processing

Improper documentation.

The US immigration authorities require civil documents such as birth and marriage certificates in foreign countries to be issued by specific authorities and in a certain format in order to comply with the American standards. Care should be taken to ensure that proper documentation will be provided in order to avoid issues throughout an immigration process.

Difficulty speaking english

A certain level of English-fluency is required by the immigrating-party to obtain a visa. If one is not fluent enough, they may be denied.

Failure to attend appointments

Failure to attend appointments. An in-person appointment is required for an application to be considered complete. All appointments must be attended or rescheduled or your paperwork can be denied.

Renewing one visa may take precedence over another

Depending on the visas, applying for two different types at the same time may get one or both of the applications denied.

Health or medical disorders

If you fail to provide the correct medical records, if you are a drug abuser, someone who is deemed a threat to themselves or others, or have diseases found outside the US and could be dangerous to the public, all of these reasons can be used to deny your application.

Criminal background or security related

People convicted of various crimes may not be permitted to enter the US. These include but are not limited to repeat criminal offenders, money laundering or fraud, drug trafficking, prostitution, and commiting crimes against religious freedoms.

Undocumented individuals

Lack of documentation can be a reason for denial and/or cause an immigration process to take much longer. Depending on whether the spouse is a fiance or married already additional immigration options may be possible.

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Applying for immigrant visa through consular processing can get quite complicated if you are not familiar with the visa process and documentation required. We have helped thousands of immigrants obtain a visa and we can help explain your options, help you with your application, and protect your interests through the entire process. We have over 15 years of experience in immigration, consular processing, and working with U.S. embassies around the world.

Get a one-on-one consultation with Jane so she can identify your needs on how we can help you.

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See our Frequently Asked Questions below for commonly asked questions about consular processing immigration

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Frequently asked consular processing questions

The consular process can start after the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has approved your immigration petition (for example, Form I-130) and assigned you a visa number.

The attorney fee for consular processing may start at $1400 for each visa applicant, subject to increase depending on potential complicating fact patterns. Government fees may be determined by visiting Filing Fees | USCIS and Fees for Visa Services (

Consular processing in a routine visa application process may take up to 6 months from when the case is received by the National Visa Center to when the visa applicant successfully completes the visa interview. This timeframe is always subject to change when a visa applicant’s case has been red flagged, the application is pulled for administrative review, or if the government agencies are facing processing delays such as during COVID times.