Lawful permanent residents and US citizens in the State of Washington can bring their families from abroad using the US Consulates in the countries where their international family members reside. Consular processing is an instrumental part of bringing international families from abroad to live and work in the US. Listed below are a few of the main steps which must be taken in the hopes of attaining a US visa.
1. What is your qualifying basis for requesting a green card?
The US offers several types of visas and has that information and qualifying conditions on the State Department website. Do you meet the eligibility requirements for the type of visa you are seeking?
2. Submitting a petition to USCIS
The type of green card you are pursuing will determine how you and/or your sponsor will proceed. For example, if you are requesting a family-based petition, a relative will file the I-30 petition in the US on your behalf. If you a coming to the US to work, your employer will usually file for you. To view the categories under which internationals may obtain a US green card, see the State Department’s or USCIS’ website.
3. Additional information
After the paperwork and filing fees have been submitted, the petitioner and the potential beneficiary must wait to hear an updated status from the USCIS. If the petition is approved, it will then be submitted to the National Visa Center where a registration number will be issued. In addition, supporting documentation and additional processing fees will be collected.
4. The interview
An interview is an integral part of the green card journey; however, prior to your interview, you will need to have a medical exam at your expense. It must be performed by a doctor who has been approved by USCIS. Once your interview has been scheduled, you will answer questions about yourself under oath. Either immediately afterward or sometime later, you will be informed as to whether or not you have been approved for a green card.
Welcome to the US
Once approved, you will receive a 6-month travel visa and a sealed envelope known as a “visa packet.” Do not open it; instead, take it with you to the US. You’ll need to give it to the Customs and Border Patrol Officer who will open it and allow you entry into the US. The process may be long, but reaching out to an attorney for guidance can help you prepare.