Once you are the beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition, there are two separate and distinct ways to acquire lawful permanent resident (LPR) status (also known as the “Green Card”).
If you are in the U.S., you may file an Adjustment of Status (AOS) application directly with the USCIS. If you are outside of the United States, you may apply to consular process a U.S. Department of State (DOS) consulate abroad for an immigrant visa in order to be admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. This pathway is referred to as immigrant consular processing.
Whether you are filing an AOS application or applying for consular processing, both processes require the foreign national to:
- Submit copies of biographical documents, such as birth and marriage certificates, divorce decrees, and passports, as well as relevant police certificates,
- Undergo a medical examination and receive necessary vaccinations, and
- Appear for fingerprinting for security and background clearances.
The National Visa Center (NVC) is responsible for collecting visa application fees and supporting documentation. The NVC will notify both the Petitioner and Beneficiary when the approved petition is received, and again, when an immigrant visa number is about to become available. The NVC will notify you about when you are eligible to submit immigrant visa processing fees (commonly referred to as the “Fee bill”) and supporting documentation.
At that point, our attorneys will work with you to file the DS-260 Electronic Application on your behalf. The DS-260 application is the Immigrant Visa form from the DOS. Our attorneys will fully assemble the package to send to the NVC, which includes all required documents, the DS-260 confirmation page, and documentation evidencing that the Immigrant Visa Processing Fee Bill was paid.
After initial processing by the NVC, the consular application will be processed by a U.S. consulate or embassy in the foreign national’s home country. Once an immigrant visa is available or your priority date is current (earlier than the cut-off date listed in the monthly Visa Bulletin), the consular office will schedule an interview for you and your family. Once the interview is scheduled, our attorneys will counsel you about the items that you must bring and prepare you for the questions that you may face at the consular interview.
After the interview, the foreign national will be issued an immigrant visa and will be granted LPR status only after being admitted to the U.S.