Consular processing occurs when a foreign national desires to immigrate to the United States and starts the process in a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. The procedure is different for those who are already in the United States. Petitions and supporting documents are submitted at the embassy or consulate in the foreign national’s home country. An interview and medical exam are performed there too. If the interview and medical exam are satisfactory, the intending immigrant’s visa is approved, and enter after arrival and inspection he or she is allowed entry. After that, the individual should receive their Green Card in about three weeks.
Nearly all intending immigrants who aren’t residing in the United States must go through consular processing in their own country. Many who already live here are not eligible for the adjustment of status procedure because of expired visas, illegal entry or other reasons. Nearly all of them are required to return to their home countries and begin the consular processing process. It’s a very complicated process though, and the representation of a qualified and skillful attorney is strongly recommended if you’re in any of the following situations:
- You’ve been deported.
- You’ve previously been convicted of a serious crime.
- You entered the United States illegally.
- Your passport is now expired.
- Asylee status has already been granted to you.
The 180 Day Rule
If you’ve lived in the United States for 180 days or more, you might not be able to obtain a Green Card, but you can certainly be barred from returning to America for anywhere between a year and 10 years. Waivers are available, but obtaining such a waiver is difficult. you’ll want a quality Central Valley immigration lawyer representing you.
The Cost of Consular Processing
Not only is consular processing a confusing and complicated process, but it’s also expensive. The filing fee for a family-based visa is $535. On top of that is a $325 application fee for a total of $860. There will be a medical examination fee at the consulate along with a police records charge in the home country. If two or three people from the same family are seeking to immigrate, expect the charges to double or triple.
An interview with an officer at the U.S. consulate is the final step in the visa process. The purpose of the interview is to confirm the information in your application and review your medical, financial information along with any information on arrests and convictions. Assuming your interview is satisfactory, don’t expect to be told to go to the next window for your visa. You’ll likely receive a call or a letter telling you when you can return to pick up your visa along with a sealed visa packet. Don’t open the packet. Only the consular official who inspects you upon your arrival can open it. Be prepared to travel. There will be a time limit on how long you have to come to the United States.
Contact a California Immigration Lawyer Today.
Even without any intervening issues, consular processing can be overwhelming. A qualified and experienced Central Valley immigration lawyer from Maison Law Immigration lawyers can perform all of the necessary legal work to ensure that there will not be needless confusion or delays in the complicated legal process. Upon being retained, we’ll take control of the application process from the start to the finish. When USCIS sees us representing you, its personnel will know that you’re serious and well-intentioned in coming to the United States. Contact the Central Valley immigration lawyers at Maison Law Immigration Lawyers for a consultation as soon as you can, especially if it looks like you might have particularly difficult case.