Claudia Slovinsky

Consular Processing

Consular processing allows an individual who is outside of the U.S., or who is in the United States but not eligible for adjustment of status, to apply for legal permanent residence at a U.S. consul abroad, usually in that person's home country. Before a foreign national can process an immigrant visa ("a green card") at a U.S. consul abroad, a petition filed for them, generally by a qualifying family member or a prospective employer, must be approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

A foreign national should be aware, however, that there are many factors involved in determining whether an immigrant visa will ultimately be issued at a U.S. consul abroad, even after a petition is approved for them by the USCIS. First, the foreign national must be found to be "admissible" to the United States. This means that the foreign national does not fall into any of the grounds of inadmissibility in the immigration law. The most common grounds of inadmissibility are for having certain criminal convictions, having committed fraud in prior dealings with U.S. immigration authorities, having certain health conditions, and being unable to show that the person will not become a public charge. Often, even if these factors are present, there is a possibility of applying for a waiver of the ground(s) of inadmissibility.

Another frequent ground of inadmissibility is that the foreign national has been in the United States in "unlawful presence" for over six months. Despite having an approved family or employer based petition, if a foreign national has been "unlawfully present" in the United States for over six months, they cannot be granted an immigrant visa (nor any temporary visa) to come back to the United States for three years. If a foreign national has been "unlawfully present" in the United States for over one year, they cannot be granted an immigrant visa (nor any temporary visa) for ten years. Some foreign nationals may be able to obtain a waiver of the three- or ten-year bar to admissibility.

Our law office will work with you through all the steps involved in consular processing. We will assist you from the beginning to the end, from filing the underlying petition by a family member or employer that qualifies you for a green card, to preparing you for your immigrant visa interview at the U.S. consul abroad and assembling the documents necessary for presentation. We will also carefully screen your case for any potential grounds of inadmissibility and advise you regarding possible solutions. If a request for a waiver is possible and advisable, we will prepare a persuasive application that explains why you should be granted a waiver of the ground of inadmissibility.