Consular processing for a United States green card can be a long and tumultuous process. As long as you understand how consular processing works, you can avoid the many pitfalls associated with it.
Are you eligible for a Green Card?
This is the first question you need to ask yourself as soon as you start the consular processing process. How do you plan on becoming a permanent United States resident? Some may choose to apply for residency based on having a family member or employer who already lives in the United States. The less common route is to apply for a Green Card through filing as a refugee.
Wait for the decision for your Green Card
The next step of this part can get nerve-wracking as you wait to find out whether you have gotten accepted. If the USCIS decides to deny your application, you will have an opportunity at that point to appeal the decision. If the USCIS decides to approve your application, it will then get sent over to the Department of State’s National Visa Center.
Wait to get an immigrant number
As you can see, this process requires a great deal of patience. The next step of the consular process is that you must wait for the National Visa Center to inform you of when a new visa number becomes available for you. They will also inform you if you need to provide more documentation to get that new immigration number.
Get a visa
Before you get an actual Green Card, you must first get a visa. If all goes well, the consular office will give you a visa packet that you must resist opening. During this time, you will also most likely need to pay a fee. You should pay this fee before you ever set foot on an airplane. Once you arrive on U.S. soil, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer will assist you and make the final judgment call as to whether you will get the opportunity to become a permanent U.S. resident according to immigration law.