If you are the beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition, and you have been given an immigrant visa number, you have two different ways in which to apply for lawful permanent residence status and receive a green card. If you are already in the U.S., you can apply for permanent resident status here without needing to return to your home country in order to complete processing. This application process is called adjustment of status.
If you are outside of the United States, to apply for lawful permanent resident status, you will need to apply for an immigrant visa at the U.S. Department of State consulate abroad so that you can come to the U.S. and be admitted as a permanent resident. This pathway to lawful permanent resident status is called consular processing. A Consular Processing Lawyer NYC can help you with this process.
The first step in consular processing is to find out if you are eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence and receive a green card. In most cases, immigrants become eligible for a green card via a petition that is filed on their behalf by either an employer or a family member.
In other cases, an individual may become a permanent resident by obtaining asylum or refugee status or through another type of special provision. A Consular Processing Lawyer NYC will be able to help you determine if you are eligible for a green card and can help you get started with consular processing.
Before you file anything, you will need to know which category of applicants you fit into. There are different forms to file depending on different circumstances. It is very helpful to hire a Consular Processing Lawyer to assist you with this stage of the process in order to ensure that you are filing the correct petition and including the proper documentation.
Family-Based Immigrant Petitions
If you decide to apply for a green card based on a family relationship, then either a United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident relative will need to file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on your behalf. In most cases, immigrant petitions are filed domestically with USCIS.
However, in some cases, you can file a Form-130 petition for an immediate relative with a U.S. embassy, USCIS field office, or consulate abroad. Immediate relatives include spouses, children, or parents of a United States citizen.
Employment-Based Immigrant Petitions
In order to file for a green card based on your employment, your United States employer will need to file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, on your behalf. If you plan to invest significant amounts of capital into a United States business venture, you can file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, for yourself.
There are some other categories that immigrants may fall into, which require filing a different type of form. This form is called Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), and Special Immigrant. You can either file this yourself or have someone else file one for you, depending on the circumstances. A Consular Processing Lawyer NYC can help you decide which form you should file due to your individual circumstances.
After your petition is submitted, the next step is to wait for a decision. You will be notified by USCIS whether your petition has been approved or denied. If your petition is denied, the notice that you will receive will include the reasons for the denial of the petition and advise you whether you may appeal the decision.
If your petition is approved and you are living outside of the U.S., USCIS will forward the approved petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center. The NVC will keep the petition until an immigrant visa number becomes available to you.
When the visa petition is received by the National Visa Center (NVC), the NVC will notify both you and the petitioner (if it was someone other than you) that it was received. You will also get a notification from the NVC when an immigrant visa number is about to become available to you. When immigrant visa processing fees and supporting documentation are needed, you will also be contacted by the NVC.
The consular office will set up an interview once your visa becomes available, or your priority date is current. At this stage in the process, it is a good idea to hire a Consular Processing Lawyer NYC if you have not done so already. Your lawyer will be able to explain what you can expect out of the interview and what you should bring with you to the interview so that your visa is not delayed.
Prior to attending the interview, you will need to make an appointment with an authorized physician in the country in which your interview will occur. This needs to be completed, along with any vaccinations ordered by the doctor, prior to your interview.
Each visa applicant is required to bring certain documents to the interview. These documents may include photographs and original or certified copies of all civil documents submitted to the NVC. After your interview, the consular office will process your case and make a decision as to whether you are eligible for an immigrant visa.
While it is possible to handle the process of applying for a visa and going through consular processing without legal representation, it is always a good idea to speak with an experienced Consular Processing Lawyer NYC first. There are certain deadlines that must be met during this process, and a Consular Processing Lawyer NYC can help to make sure that you meet all required deadlines and that your application is complete.
Additionally, it can be very helpful to have the advice of legal counsel prior to attending the interview that will occur once your visa becomes available. A Consular Processing Lawyer NYC can help the entire process go smoothly and help you to avoid any unnecessary delays.
The attorneys at Feiner and Lavy, P.C. have successfully helped their clients obtain visas and achieve lawful permanent residency. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation to move forward with your immigration plans.
**This is general information and is NOT intended to provide legal advice.
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