In consular immigration, one applies for a visa by going through a U.S. consulate office in one’s home country. It’s best to come to the United States via consular processing, because it provides assurance that, when you arrive in the United States, your status will be secure.
U.S. consulates around the globe exercise stringent standards and deadlines regarding the completion of each application. By hiring a Houston immigration lawyer to help with consular processing, you can be sure all documents will be thoroughly completed and submitted on time as well as avoiding snags that could otherwise hold up your application for months.
As is the case with most immigration law processes, consular processing requires a great deal of paperwork on the immigrant’s part. An immigration attorney can help immigrants download, fill out, and file the appropriate paperwork for consular processing with accuracy and efficiency. First, the National Visa Center (NVC) will transfer your file to the appropriate consulate in your area. There are a number of consular offices in Texas, and the NVC will choose one based on your location.
Before the NVC can transfer your case, however, it will send you a Choice of Address and Agent form. This form is simple and only requires you to fill it out and send it back to the NVC to continue the consular process. After that, you will receive a bill for the immigrant visa processing fee. After paying the bill, you will receive an instructions package providing information about the documents that you and the person who filled out your visa petition must submit. These documents may include the Notification of Applicant Readiness and the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration. You must also complete a medical exam.
During the medical exam, you must demonstrate that you are admissible on public health grounds. An approved physician, one on the list of those authorized, must conduct your medical exam before your appointment with the visa consulate. The physician must confirm that you were given all required vaccinations and that you do not have a communicable disease that could potentially affect public health. Your exam results are valid for 12 months as you complete the rest of the consular process.
Once you fill out the required documents and complete the medical exam, you must undergo an interview with the consulate. Knowing what to expect at the interview, including what type of questions you will be expected to answer, can make the process much less stressful. First, the consular officer will ask you questions about the documents you submitted to check the accuracy of your answers. The officer will also question you about the nature of your relationship, including how you met your spouse, details about your wedding, and questions about your life together.
At the end of your interview, the consulate requires that you take an oath and sign form DS-230 to affirm that everything you put in your application is true. If anything during your interview makes the consulate officer doubt the nature of your relationship or believe that you are only married to immigrate into America, your application will be sent back to the USCIS for reexamination. If you pass your interview, you will pass the consulate process and receive your green card. For security reasons, the officer may or may not approve your application at the interview.
If you need help before, during, or after consulate processing, consult an attorney. You can apply for different types of visas throughout consular processing, including family-based visas and employment-based visas. Answering all application questions thoroughly and turning the right documents in on time can ensure that the USCIS processes your status without delays. David A. Breston can help you apply for a green card through consular processing. To set up an appointment to discuss applying for a visa through a U.S. consulate in your home country, contact us today.