Whether your visa application is denied, lost, or simply awaiting an interview, our firm can help you with your consular processing needs.

Consular Processing

For some people who are unable to obtain their desired immigration status here in the United States, or who simply live outside the United States, the immigration process requires a visit to one of hundreds of US embassies and consulates around the world.  This process is known as consular processing.  It applies to both immigrant visas (for people who wish to be permanent residents) and non-immigrant visas (such as temporary visitors, students and specialty workers).

For most immigrants, the consular process actually starts with the filing of an immigrant petition in the United States, either by a family member or employer.  Once USCIS approves the petition, it sends notice to the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  The NVC assigns it a case number and collects all the necessary fees, forms and supporting documents before forwarding the case to the appropriate US embassy or consulate.  The embassy or consulate is responsible for interviewing the visa applicant

In cases involving low priority preference categories, such as a US citizen petitioning for a sibling, the visa might not be immediately available to the beneficiary.  As a result, the beneficiary might have to wait for several years before obtaining a visa.

During the lengthy and complicated visa process, many problems can occur.  The government may lose the file; the petitioner or beneficiary may move and not receive important notices sent to their old address; the consulate may ask for more evidence; or it may flat-out deny the visa.  The end result is often the same:  processing comes to a screeching halt.

In situations like these, there is often no appeals process.  However, a knowledgeable immigration attorney can help get the process back on track.  Sometimes it takes a targeted phone call or email to the appropriate government unit.  Other times, submitting more documents to the consulate.  In some cases, the best solution is to reapply for another visa.  Having an attorney who knows when to push and when to pull can make all the difference in the world.

DID YOU KNOW?  If an I-130 petition is approved but the petitioner dies before the beneficiary comes to the United States, the petition is automatically revoked.  However, in certain circumstances, the beneficiary may reinstate the I-130 petition if he or she can locate a “substitute sponsor.”  The substitute sponsor must be the beneficiary’s spouse, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sibling, child (at least 18 years of age), son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, grandparent, or grandchild.  He or she must also be at least 18 years old and a US citizen or permanent resident, and meet certain financial requirements.  Contact a knowledgeable immigration attorney to discuss this and other consular processing issues.


For more information about visas and family petitions, visit these pages: