Consular Processing

Consular Processing and Expedited Consular Processing

When you start your visa application from abroad, you undergo a different process than the typical adjustment of status (AOS) that takes place for applicants within the US. As your application will be handled by a US embassy abroad, your application goes through consular processing instead of the AOS system – this means that the established timelines and protocols will be different.

What is Consular Processing?

A consular process takes place when a green card application is processed outside the United States.

Immigrants will have their application processed outside the US if they entered without permission or unlawfully, if they reside in another country, or if the immigrant falls into certain preference categories.

The Law Office of Dahlia Castillo will prepare your family petition and submit it to USCIS. Once the family petition has been approved, USCIS will send the approved petition to the National Visa Center (NVC) for the second step in the process. Usually, it will take about one or two months for the approved petition to get to the NVC. The NVC will then send a list of documents and other instructions for you to perform to get ready for your consular interview.

Once you have provided the NVC with all the documents they requested, they will send you an email informing you that your documents have been received and that you are in line for your consular interview.

Once you receive an email from the NVC with your interview date and time, you will meet with Attorney Castillo to prepare for your interview. While you are abroad for your interview attorney Castillo is available for you during your entire stay and after your interview until you return to the United States as a lawful permanent resident.

Expedited request through the National Visa Center

The National Visa Center (NVC) is the US agency that holds immigrant visa petitions that have been approved by USCIS until the requested visa has been made available for the beneficiary of said petition. At that point, the NVC directs the US embassy abroad to arrange the interview with the beneficiary.

There are currently great delays at the NVC, and consular processing times are overwhelmingly long for most petitions. The pandemic has negatively affected a system that was already under tremendous pressure, given that there are more petitions than available visas, and each year the backlog increases.

In certain instances, the NVC will agree to speed up the processing time of an application if the situation requires it. This is called an expedited process, and may be requested due to:

Other situations may also qualify for an expedited process. Do note that the NVC does not grant this benefit easily, so having a lawyer handle the petition is essential to ensure that you have the proper documentation to back up your expedited process claim. When time is of the essence, making sure that your visa application is reviewed on time should be a priority.