Consular Processing

Consular Processing for an Immigrant Visa

Consular ProcessingI can assist someone with consular processing for an immigrant visa. Consular processing refers to the steps one takes to obtain an immigrant visa (“IV”) at a United States consular post abroad. An alien is eligible for an immigrant visa if he or she satisfies certain requirements imposed on an applicant by the Immigration & Nationality Act (the “INA”).

Eligibility for an Immigrant Visa

An alien is eligible to receive an immigrant visa if:

  • The alien is the beneficiary of an approved visa petition, which grants family-based immediate relative or preference classification, or employment-based preference classification; or
  • The alien is a derivative family member (that is, a spouse or an unmarried minor child of preference alien(s)).

Numerical Control and Priority Dates

The allocation of immigrant visas is controlled by a system of worldwide numerical limitations, based upon foreign country chargeability and the chronological order of the visa applicant’s priority date. Aliens who are subject to the numerical limitations of the INA may establish a priority date through the proper filing, on their behalf, of a preference visa petition or a labor certification, as required. The date the visa petition (or petition for alien worker) is filed establishes the priority date for visa issuance.


In addition to meeting the substantive categorical requirements for an immigrant classification and having a visa number available, if required, a visa applicant must otherwise be admissible to the United States. The applicant will be deemed inadmissible if any provision found in INA ยง 212(a) applies to him or her.


With few exceptions, an alien who is applying for an immigrant visa must file his or her application at the consular office which has jurisdiction over the alien’s place of residence.

Third Country Processing

Consular posts are not obligated to accept a visa application from an alien who does not reside in the consular district. The successful jurisdiction plea normally requires a showing of great hardship, extenuating circumstances, or humanitarian considerations on behalf of an alien who is stateless or unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality. Immigrant visa applicants, who are citizens of countries where no U.S. consular post exists, e.g., Iran, Libya, and Somalia, may apply at consular posts designated by the U.S. Department of State.

Immigrant Visa Application Process

Once the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (the “USCIS”) approves a visa petition or labor certification that indicates that the Beneficiary will apply for the immigrant visa abroad, the USCIS forwards the approved petition or labor certification to the National Visa Center (the “NVC”). The NVC then assigns a case number, which consists of three capital letters and ten numbers. Only then is the case “processed” for a particular consular post. To what extent the NVC scrutinizes the case before it depends on which consular post will eventually make a decision on the Beneficiary’s immigrant visa application.

Click here to read additional Visa Information for Immigrants from the U.S. Department of State.

Forms Required

Once the petition has been approved (or the priority date has been reached), the Beneficiary will receive Form DS-230 from the National Visa Center. The Beneficiary must properly complete the forms and pay the necessary IV filing fees. In the case of family-based sponsorship, the Petitioner must submit a properly completed and documented Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support). If a Petitioner is represented by an attorney, a Form G-28, Notice of Appearance, must also be submitted.

Documents That Must be Presented at the Consular Interview

. Birth certificate of the Petitioner or Certificate of Citizenship (family-based only);

. Marriage certificate of Petitioner and Beneficiary, and, if applicable, divorce judgment(s) from each spouse;

. Marriage certificate of the parents of the Petitioner and the Beneficiary, if the petition is for a brother or a sister (fourth preference category);

. Birth certificate of the Beneficiary, with certified translation into English, if necessary;

. One photograph of the alien Beneficiary (passport style);

. Passport of the alien Beneficiary;

. I-94 Arrival/Departure card of the alien Beneficiary;

. Medical exam of the alien from a qualified medical clinic/doctor; and

. Police clearance letter.

Follow the instructions from the National Visa Center on when and where to submit Form I-864. The purpose of this form is to show that the intending immigrant has adequate financial support in the United States, and that he or she is not likely to become a public charge.

I can help you and your relatives with all of your consular processing needs.