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What is consular processing, and how does it work?

Consular processing is the pathway to come to the United States when you are currently located outside of the country. When seeking a Green Card, you may apply at the U.S. Department of State consulate, which is where this process gets its name.

Consular processing has eight steps. Here is what you should know about this process.

The eight steps of consular processing

Each of the following steps will help you on the path to coming to the United States to live permanently.

  1. Determining your eligibility to immigrate
  2. Filing an immigrant petition
  3. Waiting for the approval of your petition
  4. Waiting for communication from the National Visa Center
  5. Going to the consular office for an interview
  6. Notifying the National Visa Center of changes
  7. Obtaining a visa packet and paying a fee to the USCIS
  8. Receiving your Green Card

Each of these steps will help you get closer to coming to the United States.

When do you receive your Green Card after paying the USCIS fees?

You will be able to get your Green Card within 45 days of your arrival in the U.S. You don’t actually need your Green Card to get into the country, but you do need your visa packet to show that you have been approved for it. The visa packet should be given to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer at whichever port of entry you select. They’ll go over the packet and make sure you are legally able to come into the country at that time as a permanent resident. If they do admit you, then you will be able to remain in the United States to live and work on a permanent basis.

Your Green Card may be delivered to you after this occurs. The Green Card is mailed to you, so you need to make sure that the address you have on file is correct. If you don’t receive it, then you’ll need to reach out to the USCIS to find out if there is a delay and how you can get your Green Card soon.