Consular processing is one of two ways to pursue legal permanent residency in the United States. If you are outside of the United States, you may apply at a U.S. Department of State consulate abroad for an immigrant visa in order to come to the United States and be admitted as a permanent resident A person who is not already in the United States is limited to consular processing and must interview at a U.S. embassy. Generally, consular processing involves enduring family separation but is the quicker process.
A person who is already present in the United States may choose between adjustment of status or consular processing. The choice will depend on personal circumstances as well as the current processing times. It is possible to choose consular processing and remain in the United States until the time of the consular interview.
Consular processing is a multi-part procedure.
Part one is becoming eligible through one of the following:
Part two occurs at the National Visa Center and then the consulate. After USCIS approves your petition, they will transfer your case to the Department of State's National Visa Center (NVC) for pre-processing (explained below).
The steps after an approved petition are:
In some immigration categories, the number of visas available each year is limited.
After you receive an Appointment Letter from the NVC, you need to take the following steps BEFORE the interview date.