The consular processing immigration and visa process can be long and complicated, and for many, it can be a bit intimidating. To help reduce the confusion and provide a general overview of what to expect during your process to obtain a visa to enter the United States, we have created this step by step process to help explain what happens during the U.S.’s immigration process to help you plan for what comes next.
- Petition: Submit a petition for an immigrant visa. To be eligible to apply for an immigrant visa, a foreign citizen must be sponsored by a relative who is a U.S. citizen, U.S. lawful permanent resident, or a prospective employer, with a few exceptions.
- Petition Approved: After your petition is approved, you will begin processing through the National Visa Center (NVC) where you will be assigned an agent and pay the required fees associated with the visa process.
- Documentation: Gather and submit the required documentation and the visa application form to the NVC.
- Interview: The U.S. Embassy or Consulate will schedule an interview with you and all listed visa applicants. Prepare and bring any required documentation with you to the interview. Supplied documentation will be reviewed and eligibility for an immigrant visa will be determined.
- After The Interview: Upon the completion of the interview, you will be notified if your application for an immigrant visa was approved or denied. If approved, additional information on how and when you will receive your visa will be sent to you. If denied, you will be informed if supporting documentation is missing or if additional processing is required. There are some factors that may make applicants ineligible for a visa.
This general process is not the standard for all individuals, some cases may require additional effort or processing. To be eligible for a visa, a foreign citizen must be sponsored by a relative who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder).
A U.S. citizen can sponsor an immigrant visa for their:
- Parent, or
A U.S. lawful permanent resident can only sponsor an immigrant visa for their:
- Spouse or
- Unmarried child
A foreign citizen can also be sponsored by a current or prospective employer, so long as specific requirements are met. Foreign citizens can sponsor themselves if they are immigrating to the U.S. in order to work in a specialized field.
There are few exceptions to these sponsorship rules – such is the case for those seeking asylum.
If at any point during the immigration process you feel overwhelmed or are worried that you are not doing something right, feel free to contact the law office of Little Law, P.A. at 813-279-1140 and speak to a knowledgeable immigration attorney to discuss your case and seek advice where needed.