Consular Processing lawyers in New Orleans

Consular processing is a channel through which a beneficiary of an approved immigration petition applies for a visa at one of the U.S. consulates abroad. To initiate this process there must be visa numbers available for the potential immigrant's country. Please see some of our other articles about visas and immigrant petitions. 

If you are interested in applying for a visa at a consular office abroad, you must seek the assistance of a qualified immigration attorney to guide you through the process.  

What is the difference between consular processing and adjustment of status?

Adjustment of status is the process that allows an immigrant to change their status and become a permanent U.S. resident without having to leave the US. Consular Processing requires that the immigrant be physically present in the nation where their appointment is scheduled, which may be their country of origin or another country, depending on circumstances in the case. 

Law Office

Steps to initiate consular processing

The work of an attorney begins long before the application arrives at the consular office through the immigration petition that is filed primarily. The approval of the petition depends on many factors and is different in every case. For example, have you traveled to the U.S. before, and have you violated immigration laws in the past? It is important to address any issues and consider their impact on the case before beginning the process. 

1. Primary application and National Visa Center

The first step will be taken by your U.S. relative or employer, by filing a petition for a foreign relative or foreign employee. Once the petition is approved by the USCIS, the case is sent to the National Visa Center for further review. 

2. Instruction letter and forms

Once a visa number is available in your country, the NVC will send you a letter with instructions for further consular processing. You will receive a case number, and may need to pay a fee for the application. 

You will need to access the state department's website to fill out forms and ask your sponsor to complete an Affidavit of Support, USCIS form I-864. If your sponsor does not have sufficient income to support you, you may need another sponsor for your application

During this phase of consular processing, you will most likely be asked for personal documentation to support your case. This part of the process can be very frustrating, because making a mistake in filling out the forms can jeopardize the entire visa. Having an immigration attorney is essential.

3. Medical Examination and Consular Interview

Once the appointment is set and you are outside the United States, there are two key moments in the visa approval process. First, a medical examination is conducted, according to the regulations established by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The doctors are designated by the US government and you must attend the medical exam with an approved physician. You must be honest in your medical exam about any issues that you may have. 

Next, a consular interview is scheduled in the consular post or embassy, where an officer will verify your information and determine if there is any cause for inadmissibility. You should be prepared to explain what type of application you have and present all documents required by the government in your type of application. 

The assistance of an attorney can help you better prepare for the interview, provide more detailed answers, and anticipate any documents the officials may request. In addition, if the application is denied, they will advise you for the reasons and what to do, if anything, to address the issues. 

Reviewing the Laws

At what point in Consular Processing should I hire an attorney?

Ideally, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Consular processing can be very complicated and a mistake can waste your valuable time or, worse, jeopardize your ability to enter the U.S. in the future.

Ideally, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Consular processing can be very complicated and a mistake can waste your valuable time or, worse, jeopardize your ability to enter the U.S. in the future.