Consular processing occurs when a person applies for a visa before leaving their native country. The United States embassy staff processes the application in the foreign country. It is different than applying for a visa if you are already in California or elsewhere in the United States. Embassy staff will help you complete either a CR-1 or IR-1 visa so that you can join your spouse in the United States.
If you have been married for less than two years, you will get a CR-1 Visa for two years to immigrate to the United States. You can renew your visa and get a 10-year permanent resident card at the end of that time.
At the end of the consular process, you will get an IR-1 Visa if you and your spouse have been married for over two years. After the counselor process, you will receive a green card for 10 years.
What prove do you need to get a CR-1 or IR-1 Visa?
Regardless of needing a CR-1 or IR-1 Visa, you must provide the embassy staff with evidence. You must prove that your spouse is a United States citizen or permanent resident and that you are legally married. Your spouse must pledge to support you financially and show that they can do so. Generally, they must make 125% of the federal poverty level. Your spouse must have a permanent residence in the United States or plan to set one up.
People married to a U.S. citizen who makes enough money and has a permanent residence in the United States can work with embassy staff to receive a CR-1 or IR-1 visa before leaving their home country.