What is the process to apply for an immigrant visa and enter the United States as a permanent resident?
Consular Processing is the process wherein a beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition applies for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate to come to the United States and be admitted as a permanent resident.
Who is eligible to get a Green Card?
Most immigrants become eligible for a green card (permanent residence) through a petition filed by a family member or employer with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Others become permanent residents through first obtaining refugee or asylum status, or through other special provisions.
What is the next step in the process?
After the approval of the immigrant petition by the USCIS, it will send the approved petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC), where it will remain until an immigrant visa number is available. When the visa becomes available, the NVC will notify the petitioning family member or employer regarding the applicable fees, supporting documentation required for the application and scheduling the visa interview.
All applicants named on the interview appointment letter from the NVC must attend the interview. The sponsor/petitioner does not need to attend the interview. It is important that the applicant review all the requirements for the visa interview and bring the supporting documentation requested.
Traveling to the United States
Once the application is approved, the applicant must enter the U.S. no later than the visa expiration date, which is usually valid for up to six months from the date of issuance. Before traveling to the U.S., the visa fees must be paid. USCIS will not issue the green card until the fee has been paid. Remember, a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States, so it is important to seek the assistance of an immigration attorney if you have any concerns about entering the U.S.
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