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Consular Process

Expert Advice for Consular Process in Arizona Immigration Law

This isn’t a question you are likely able to answer yourself. The complexity of the topic means that a knowledgeable Arizona immigration attorney is the best person to give you insight into whether this is the best choice for you. It all comes down to your specific situation and any additional factors of note.

Beyond that, there’s also the process of filing an accurate petition and making it through the interview. It’s possible that you could handle it all on your own but it would take a lot of work and you could still end up making a mistake. Bringing in an expert will cut down on confusion and streamline the process.

If it turns out that the consular process isn’t the best move, you’ll already have someone available who can guide you to the strategy that will work for you. Top immigration lawyers in Arizona understand all the nuances of the law and can get you going down the right path.

Everything You Need to Know About Consular Processing in Arizona

One of the ways that an immigrant can receive a green card or permanent residency in the United States is through consular processing. The other way is through adjustment of status, which is available to certain immigrants lawfully residing in the US. To use the consular process, you have to have an immigrant visa number and be the beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition.

If you have both of these things, you can apply for a visa at the US Embassy or consulate in your country of origin. In some cases, this might be your only option even if you’re already in the United States. If this is the case, you will need to go back to your home country to apply at the consulate. Adjustment of status isn’t possible while in the US.

Those who are in the US unlawfully will find that leaving to take advantage of consulate processing could be less than ideal. If you are in the US unlawfully because your visa expired (or for another reason) and that has been the case for at least 180 days, you will be banned from reentering the country for three years. Those who have been unlawfully in the US for more than a year will be barred for 10 years.

However, if this is not the case and you have been in the US for a shorter period or are here lawfully, the consular process is an option for getting a visa. This will put you on the path toward obtaining a green card.

Understanding Immigration Basics

There are several ways for immigrants to be granted permanent residency. Most of the time, this occurs through employment or a family member. However, there are several other methods. For instance, some gain residence through refugee or asylum status, being members of the military, acting as K-1 nonimmigrants or being widows or widowers of US citizens.

The Petition Process in Arizona

An immigrant petition will need to be filed by someone for you. If it is a family-based petition, the form is I-360, Petition for Alien Relative. In situations where the petition is employment-based, an employer based in the US must file I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. If you are a foreign investor or an entrepreneur, you can file a petition on your own. You’ll want to use form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.

If you are out of the USA and the petition is approved, the USCIS will provide you with that information and send the petition to the National Visa Center. At this point, you’ll receive a visa number when it is available. You’ll be notified and asked for information regarding necessary documentation as well as processing fees.

In situations where the petition is denied, USCIS will notify you to let you know why you were denied and provide information about your ability to appeal the decision.

The Visa Interview in Arizona

Once your visa number is available, or the priority date is earlier or current compared to the cut-off date, you’ll receive a notification about visiting the consular’s office for a visa interview. At this point, an officer will look over your application, along with your financial records, criminal records, and medical records.

If you have two misdemeanors or a felony conviction, it’s unlikely that you will be admitted. Several medical conditions may also lead to denial. If you have any of these problems, it’s best to consult with an experienced Arizona immigration attorney before you ever send in your petition.

It’s also important you are honest and provide all the necessary information on the petition. If you are untruthful on the application or leave things out that should be included, this can be a serious issue. You won’t be provided with a visa unless you have a good reason for the discrepancies.

For those who have an application based on marriage, you can expect to be asked questions about your spouse and details of your relationship. This is done to ensure the relationship is real. If the marriage is less than two years old but the visa is approved, you’ll get conditional permanent residency status upon entering the US. This will be valid for two years.

At 90 days before expiration, you’ll need to file a petition to remove the conditional status. If you are divorced, you’ll need to provide a lot of detail to prove you did not marry solely to become a permanent resident.

Notification of Changes

In most situations, you won’t need to contact the National Visa Center about the petition. Instead, they will reach out to you when they need additional information. However, there are a few situations where you should be proactive and reach out to them first. These include:

  •       Your address has changed.
  •       You were under 21 but have now reached the age of 21.
  •       Your marital status has changed.

It’s pertinent that you contact the officials in these cases. In each scenario, these changes could impact your eligibility or availability of a visa. The National Visa Center contact information is available on the Department of State website so you can reach out.

When Can You Expect a Green Card?

Assuming you’ve paid the immigrant fee to the USCIS, you can expect to receive your green card in the mail after you reach the United States. If it hasn’t reached you within 45 days of coming into the country, you can contact the USCIS at 800-375-5283 to check up on the card’s status.

For those who haven’t paid the fee before entering the United States, that needs to be taken care of before the green card will be sent in the mail to you.

After you’ve held a green card for five years (or three if you are married to a US citizen), you can apply for United States citizenship. You need to avoid being convicted of crimes, paying your taxes, and not leaving the country for long periods.

Pros and Cons of Choosing to Use the Consular Process

There are both positive and negative things to be aware of when choosing the consular process for immigration. You should be aware that the process can take anywhere from six months to over a year for immediate relatives. However, this includes the time it takes to process the I-130 through the interview.

Since there is a waiting period for visas, family-preference immigrants can expect to wait a much longer time. Since consular processing tends to be shorter from start to finish, some people prefer it over adjustment of status. In addition, there’s less chance of being denied when choosing consular processing. Factual, specific evidence is required to deny the application. However, once denied, it is typically a final decision.

Reasons to Hire an Arizona Immigration Lawyer

Hiring an immigration attorney is useful in most cases as the laws are complex and can be hard to follow. A lawyer can assist with helping you alter your immigration status or renew the status you currently have. These are legal procedures and the rules are spread across many US laws and regulations, which the average person is not aware of.

Those who may not speak English perfectly can be aided by a lawyer. An attorney is also useful since errors may occur if you try to do everything on your own. While you may be able to amend the application in this case, it is going to lead to the process taking even longer. When it can take over a year to begin with, most people would prefer to avoid that.

Gain Access to Expert Advice for Consular Process in Arizona Immigration Law

Since consular processing can be a very complicated procedure, it’s best to have an experienced Arizona immigration lawyer to help you. This is especially true since decisions are largely final and you want to avoid being denied. Your attorney can help you decide if the consular process is right for you and your needs.

When you need assistance with immigration processes, Diamondback Legal offers experienced counsel in Phoenix. We’ll do everything possible to get you through the process so you can become a working resident in the United States. Our decades of experience allow us to help in even the most complicated situations. Reach out to us to learn more and set up a free consultation.

Related Content: What Are the Requirements for Adjustment of Status in Arizona?



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