Consular Processing & Immigrant Visas Las Vegas, NV

Consular Processing and Visa issues

Millions of people worldwide dream of coming to the United States as immigrants. By design, it’s not an easy journey. American immigration law requires prospective immigrants to follow specific, detailed procedures and wait their turn before they can set foot on U.S. soil.

The consular processing attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group Criminal & Immigration understand firsthand the challenges associated with the U.S. immigration system. We’re here to help our clients navigate consular processing, immigrant and non-immigrant visas, adjustment of status, and other elements of the law that individuals may encounter during their journey toward becoming permanent residents.

Request a Legal Case Evaluation

The United States remains a top destination for immigrants despite the lengthy and complex processes involved in qualifying for a visa, obtaining a green card, and becoming a permanent U.S. resident.

Contact our Las Vegas consular processing lawyers today to learn more about your legal rights and options in an initial case evaluation.

What Is Consular Processing?

Consular processing is how individuals outside the U.S. can seek permanent resident status before coming to this country as an immigrant. Eligible individuals typically must have a third party file an immigrant petition at a U.S. Department of State consulate in their home country. However, this may not be necessary or even possible in all cases.

Generally speaking, if you have an immediate family member already living in the United States or a U.S.-based employer who can file your petition, you’re eligible for a green card, which allows you to live and work in the United States permanently. You may also be able to file an immigrant petition as a refugee, asylum seeker, victim of human trafficking or crime, or a member of certain other special groups. The specific petition form you’ll file depends on the category that best fits your circumstances.

What Are the Steps for Consular Processing?

Once you’ve determined your basis for immigration and filed the appropriate immigrant petition, you’ll await word from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which will either approve or deny your petition. If your petition is approved, USCIS will send it to the National Visa Center (NVC), which will notify you when they receive it.

You’ll wait to hear from the NVC again when an immigrant visa number is available. They’ll also contact you about submitting the necessary fees and supporting paperwork. Upon visa availability, the consulate in your home country will contact you to schedule an interview, after which they’ll determine your eligibility for the visa.

If your visa is granted, you’ll receive a visa packet from the consulate containing critical paperwork that you’ll submit to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) upon your arrival in the United States. Do not open the visa packet. It must remain sealed until a U.S. Immigration officer opens it. The CBP officer will decide whether to admit you into the U.S. If they do, you will immediately have permanent resident status.

Following your admittance, you’ll receive your green card through the mail. It won’t arrive immediately, but if you haven’t received it within 90 days of your arrival, contact USCIS. It’s important to note that you won’t receive your green card if you haven’t paid the immigrant fee to USCIS. Paying that fee upon receipt of your visa packet can help avoid extensive delays in receiving your green card.

How Long Does Consular Processing Take?

Becoming a permanent U.S. resident through consular processing may take several months to a year or more. The length of time depends on a variety of factors, including your immigration category, your country of origin, and whether there are any limitations placed on the number of immigrant visas available to individuals in your specific category.

While there are no limits on the number of visas available to immediate family members of U.S. citizens, this is not the case for more distant family members and those seeking permanent residency through their employers.

Do I Need a Consular Processing Attorney?

Consular processing can be a confusing and time-consuming ordeal, and when you’re trying to pursue permanent resident status in the United States, the stakes are high. While it’s not a requirement that you work with a lawyer, an experienced consular processing attorney can help make sure your paperwork is properly filled out and submitted, which reduces the likelihood of your petition being denied. This can provide reassurance and ensure a smoother and less stressful process.

How to Change from Consular Processing to Adjustment of Status

While consular processing helps individuals outside the U.S., adjustment of status provides a route to permanent resident status for individuals already in the United States. However, adjustment of status is an option limited to immediate family members.

If you’re already in the U.S. on a valid visa and decide you want to become a permanent resident, adjustment of status makes it possible for you to remain in the country while you wait for your green card.

If you previously initiated consular processing, you can change to adjustment of status if you’ve come to the U.S. in the meantime and there’s a visa available in your category. You’ll need to fill out Form I-485 and submit it to USCIS, which will then contact you regarding the next steps.

What Is H-1B?

Consular processing attorneys also work with individuals looking to enter the U.S. via non-immigrant visas, such as tourists and people coming here for business purposes. The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in demand among highly educated and qualified professionals in specialized fields.

A U.S. employer with knowledge and skills gaps in its workforce can sponsor a worker by offering them a temporary position and applying for an H-1B visa on their behalf. Both employer and team member must meet specific eligibility requirements. An individual can live and work in the U.S. for up to six years on an H-1B visa.

If someone on an H-1B visa wishes to remain in the United States, they may apply for a green card after their visa expires. A consular processing attorney can assist with this complex process.

Contact a Las Vegas Consular Processing Attorney Today

The American immigration system presents many challenges to individuals seeking a pathway to permanent resident status in the United States. However, The good news is that there’s no need to try navigating this system alone. De Castroverde Law Group Criminal & Immigration provides Las Vegas-area individuals with knowledgeable and highly skilled representation in immigration-related legal matters, and our consular processing attorneys can help you every step of the way. Contact us online or by phone to get started with a free consultation.