Consular processing is the technical name for the procedure by which applicants receive Lawful Permanent Residency abroad. Although the benefit is equivalent to a green card, it is called an immigrant visa because the visa is placed in the applicant’s passport to allow them to travel to the United States from their country of residence or origin to permanently reside in the United States.
Consular processing can be a tricky strategy because it involves several steps with several different immigration agencies, including USCIS, the National Visa Center (NVC), and the U.S. Department of State. U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad have different requirements and procedures for the immigrant visa interview, so it can be extremely valuable to have an experienced attorney help you with this process and lend their insights to your case.
Some applicants may also need a waiver or background checks before attending their immigrant visa interview abroad. It is very important to get quality, expert legal advice before pursuing a consular processing strategy, because a negative outcome at the visa interview can have serious, long-term consequences. Many applicants overlook important details or eligibility issues and get stuck abroad because they did not carefully screen their case before pursuing their immigrant visa.