Overseas Consular Processing
Overseas Consular Immigrant Visa Processing (CP)
Consular Immigrant Visa Processing (CP) is a procedure that is available to all intending immigrants, no matter where they are located. Through this procedure, the application is made with the intending immigrant’s “home” consular district. An applicant’s home district is usually defined the place where the applicant last lived for at least six months before coming to the United States and where the applicant has the unrestricted right to return and remain for at least six months.
The services that we offer include assisting with:
While the applicant may be anywhere in the world (including the U.S.) when the application is initiated, the applicant must attend the final interview, in person, at the consulate. The Department of States uses it’s National Visa Center (NVC) to pre-process consular immigrant visa applications before sending the files overseas.
NVC processing normally takes approximately six months from the date the underlying immigrant preference petition is approved. This means that within six months of the date of petition approval, the applicant can reasonably expect to be interviewed – assuming that the applicant’s priority date is current.
Normally, consular processing takes about one week overseas. Applicants should plan on waiting three to five days for the results of their medical exams to be returned, and another morning for the actual visa processing. The authority of consular officers does not include the wide grant of discretion given to CIS officers considering adjustment of status applications.
A consular officer must issue an immigrant visa to an applicant who is otherwise eligible. A consular officer may not refuse to issue a visa to an eligible applicant in the exercise of discretion. If a person is found to be ineligible for an immigrant visa, that decision must be made on the basis of hard factual evidence.
The applicant must be advised of the specific reason and given an opportunity to refute it. Most denials of consular immigrant visa applications are for incomplete documents. In such cases, when the applicant produces the missing documents, the application is approved.
Unlike adjustment of status (AOS) applications before the CIS, consular immigrant visa applications rarely suffer from incomplete FBI name check results. The Department of State reports that approximately 98% of their FBI name check requests are cleared within 15 days of the date requested. Unless and until the file is complete – including all required security background checks – the NVC will not schedule an interview.
Unlike AOS applications, which may only be filed once an applicant’s priority date becomes current, CP applications can be processed up to the point of requesting a visa number and scheduling an interview while the applicant’s priority date is not yet current. As a result, an applicant doing consular processing will receive an immigrant visa interview date shortly after his or her priority date becoming current, while an applicant for AOS is only getting started at that point.
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