Consular Processing for family-based petitions
Once the I-130 Petition is approved by the USCIS and if the beneficiary is outside the U.S., the petition is sent to the Department of State National Visa Center (NVC) in New Hampshire. If it is an Immediate Family Category beneficiary, the consular processing begins immediately. If it is a Family Preference Category beneficiary, the NVC will wait until the priority date is current in order to begin the consular processing.
Consular processing entails the completion of all the required forms and submission of supporting documents by the Petitioner (U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident) to the NVC. Examples of supporting documents are birth certificates, marriage certificates, and divorce decrees. One form that has to be submitted is Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, completed by the petitioner with supporting documents evidencing the petitioner’s income and IRS income tax returns. Another form is the Department of State DS-230 Part 1 and Part 2. Once all the required forms and supporting documents are complete and submitted, the NVC will send the beneficiary’s file to the consulate located in her/his country of residence. The consulate will, thereafter, contact the beneficiary about where to report for the medical examination and the police clearance letters required.
The NVC and the Consulate will notify the petitioner and the beneficiary of all the steps that have to be taken until the final interview at the consulate. It is during the interview at the consulate, that a consulate officer will either approve the visa or require a waiver, if there are any inadmissibility issues.
Note: It is advisable to contact an Immigration Attorney to assist you through consular processing. Any incorrect submissions may result in delaying receiving the visa or in denial of the visa.