FAQ: What Are the Steps in Consular Processing?

There’s something great about lists.

Here is a list to answer a frequently-asked question: what are the steps in Consular Processing?

Here we’ll provide the steps in a case that goes fairly smoothly. The steps in a case with complications, or the steps in a poorly-constructed or poorly-managed case, can be quite different.

  1. Petitioner Submits the Petition

The petitioner files the I-130 or I-140 visa petition, along with supporting documents and the filing fee, to USCIS.

  1. USCIS Sends a Notice of Action

If all goes well, the petitioner will receive a notice in the mail stating that USCIS has approved the petition. However, it is quite possible that USCIS will deny the petition or request more evidence before deciding whether to approve or deny the petition.

  1. USCIS Forwards the Approved Petition

USCIS sends the approved petition to the National Visa Center. NVC emails bills for the petitioner to pay.

  1. The National Visa Center Forwards the Approved Petition

The NVC sends the petition to the consulate or embassy that will interview the beneficiary of the petition (e.g., the foreign national employee, spouse, etc.).

  1. The Consulate or Embassy Sends Information

The consulate or embassy will contact the beneficiary with information about the immigrant-visa interview and information about the required medical exam.

  1. The Medical Exam

The beneficiary will have the medical exam.

  1. The Interview

The beneficiary will attend the interview, where consular officers (who vary in agreeableness, cynicism, knowledge of the law, and other important characteristics), will ask the beneficiary questions and sometimes decide whether to grant or deny the immigrant visa application.

  1. The Immigrant Visa

The beneficiary receives the immigrant visa, her ticket to US permanent residence.

  1. The Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)

The beneficiary will receive a Green Card not long after entering the US, after she has paid the USCIS Immigrant Fee.

So, there you have it. A list of the steps involved in the Consular Processing cases that go smoothly.