Consular processing is a method obtaining a green card in which the visa processing occurs at a US Consulate in a foreign country. This method is adopted when
- the applicant is outside the United States, or
- the applcant is ineligible to adjust status, or
- for other strategic or convenience reasons.
When a petition is approved and a visa number is available, the approval is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC), which reviews documentation and sends out an information package to the Consulate designated on the petition. The applicant must prove to the Consulate that
- he/she is documentarily qualified
- he/she is not subject to the three or ten year bars due to previously accrued unlawful presence in the United States, and
- he/she is not inadmissible on any INA §212(a) grounds
Once the Consulate issues the visa, the applicant must enter the United States within six months of the visa’s issuance. When the applicant enters the United States, the visa is reviewed. If there are no problems, the applicant’s passport is stamped to indicate he/she is a lawful permanent resident.