What Is Consular Processing?

As a foreign national, you are still working on the process once you have approved your lawful permanent resident (green card) application.  You must complete your application and a formal interview at a consulate abroad.  Going through this process will enable you to obtain your green card legally and thus enter the United States without further issue.

Edge-Case Issues To Consider

There are several issues to consider in consular processing.

Suppose you are an illegal immigrant who is currently located in the United States. In that case, you will likely be precluded from re-entering the country after leaving (for years).  You may be able to avoid this issue by applying for a waiver, so you must consult a qualified attorney about this possibility before leaving the country.

Suppose you are a foreign national who is outside of the United States. In that case, you should remain out of the country until you have undergone consular processing and obtained lawful permanent resident status.  Otherwise, you could be subject to penalties.  For example, if you enter the United States on a tourist visa and attempt to “adjust your status,” your lawful permanent resident status may be denied based on visa fraud.

Consular Interview

The consular interview is a critical part of the process.  After all necessary documentation has been approved, then a date will be set and you will be required to attend an interview at the relevant consulate.  During this interview, the consular official will evaluate the statements made in your lawful permanent resident application and compare them to your interview statements, and will make note of potential factual inconsistencies and other issues that could impact your eligibility.

For example, if you are applying for lawful permanent resident status on the basis of marriage to your US citizen spouse, then the consular interview may involve questions pertaining to the authenticity of your marriage.  Depending on your answers, the consular official may note that they believe the marriage to be a sham intended only to secure lawful permanent resident status.  As such, it’s important to enter the interview fully informed of what to expect, and to do so with a calm demeanor.

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