There are two paths to permanent residency (or as it is commonly referred to – the Green Card). These are:

  • Consular Processing. This is the process that is used by immigrants that reside outside the United States or those who are ineligible to adjust their status in the United States. This process is typically used by family members who become eligible for a Green card because of a petition that was filed by one of their family members or an employer. A person with an approved immigration petition and an Immigration number can apply for an immigrant visa at a US Consulate abroad in order to travel to the United States and be admitted as a permanent resident.
  • Adjustment of Status. This process is typically used by an eligible person who is currently residing in the United States to become a permanent resident without having to travel to their home country to complete the process.

Consular Processing Steps

The steps below show the typical steps that are followed during consular Processing:

  • Consular Processing for Business-related Immigration. For Employment-based, the employer is required to file an I-140 petition on your behalf.  If you intend to invest significant amounts of capital into a business venture in the United States, then you will need to file an Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.
  • Consular Processing for Family-based immigration. If you are a relative of a US Citizen or a permanent resident (see family immigration for further information on attaining a Green card through family) then they should have filed an I-130 petition on your behalf.
  • Once your petition has been filed, wait for USCIS to make a decision on your application by the USCIS. If your application is denied, you will be notified along with your rights to appeal. If your application has been approved but decide to apply for a visa abroad your application will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) until an immigrant visa number is available.
  • The NVC will notify both the petitioner and the beneficiary when it has received the application from USCIS as well as when the visa number is available and when the processing fees and the supporting documents are due.
  • Once the visa is granted, the consular officer will give you a packet which you must deliver to the immigration officer at the port of entry.