What is Consular Processing?
As a foreign national, once you have had your lawful permanent resident application (green card application) approved, you are not yet finished with the process. You must still 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 a number of issues to consider in consular processing.
If you are an illegal immigrant who is currently located in the United States, then you are likely to be precluded from re-entering the country after leaving (for a period of years). You may be able to avoid this issue by applying for a waiver, so it’s important that you consult a qualified attorney about this possibility before leaving the country.
If you are a foreign national who is outside of the United States, 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,” then you may have your lawful permanent resident status denied on the basis of visa fraud.
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.
Questions? Contact Us for a Confidential Initial Consultation
At Willy, Nanayakkara & Associates, our experienced immigration attorneys regularly represent foreign nationals who are in various stages of processing their application for lawful permanent resident status in the United States, including the consular processing stage. We understand the unique challenges that applicants are likely to face, and how best to guide them so that their chance of success is maximized.
If you’d like to learn more about our services and how we can help, we encourage you to get in touch with our firm today.