New Orleans

Overseas Green Card Application Attorneys

new orleans consular processing attorney - pelton balducci

Applying to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) of the United States from abroad requires several steps, and coordination among different government agencies.

Applying to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) of the United States from abroad requires several steps, and coordination among different government agencies.

The process, referred to as Consular processing, occurs when the applicant (known as the “beneficiary”) is outside the U.S. and applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate overseas.

In some cases, this process can take months or even years to complete.
Fortunately, our New Orleans-based team at Pelton + Balducci is devoted to helping you successfully navigate the process. We will work with you to evaluate whether any grounds for inadmissibility apply and work to help you get to the United States and get your green card.
“Carol Pelton is compassionate and will go out of her way to make sure the client is taken care of and understands the immigration procedures - which can sometimes be complicated. As a practicing attorney, I recently contacted her for guidance on a consular processing case. She was amazing in helping me understand all the steps that were required to make the case successful.”
- Jacqueline
In some cases, this process can take months or even years to complete.
Fortunately, our New Orleans-based team at Pelton + Balducci is devoted to helping you successfully navigate the process. We will work with you to evaluate whether any grounds for inadmissibility apply and work to help you get to the United States and get your green card.
“Carol Pelton is compassionate and will go out of her way to make sure the client is taken care of and understands the immigration procedures - which can sometimes be complicated. As a practicing attorney, I recently contacted her for guidance on a consular processing case. She was amazing in helping me understand all the steps that were required to make the case successful.”
- Jacqueline

Overseas Green Card Applications

Consular processing of immigrant visas requires that an applicant generally complete a three-part process:
1

The submission of supporting documents before your consular interview to the National Visa Center (NVC).
2

The applicant’s attendance at a consular interview.
3

The filing of a family- or employment-based petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
Each step is further explained below.

1. The I-130 Petition for Alien Relative is filed with USCIS

First, the petitioner or “sponsor” family member files an I-130 Immigrant Petition with USCIS. 

It is important to note that under immigration law, only certain family relationships qualify to sponsor family members. It is also important to note that, depending on your family relationship, there may be a visa immediately available for the sponsored family member, or the family member’s visa availability may be subject to wait times, due to backlogged visa availability.

2. The Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) Processing

Once USCIS approves the I-130 Immigrant Petition.

At this stage, the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) requests copies of vital records pertaining to both the petitioner and applicant. The NVC also requests that the petitioner submit an I-864 Affidavit of Support in order to demonstrate that the petitioner is able to financially support the applicant upon their arrival to the U.S.

If the petitioner does not satisfy the Affidavit of Support income requirements, they may also use a Joint Sponsor who does qualify.

The applicant must also complete the Form DS-260 at this stage, which is the immigrant visa application.

The DS-260 requires extensive biographical information about the applicant, including:
  • The filing of a family- or employment-based petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
  • The submission of supporting documents in anticipation of your consular interview to the National Visa Center (NVC).
  • The applicant’s attendance at a consular interview.

Our immigration attorneys at Pelton + Balducci will help you confirm which documents apply in your case. 

Once all fees are paid and the NVC documentary and form requirements are fulfilled in a case, the NVC then places the case in line for the scheduling of the consular interview.

3. The Interview

The interview at the Consulate will be scheduled in either the applicant’s country of nationality or country of residence, with few exceptions. The applicant will receive written confirmation of the date and time of the consular interview, as well as instructions regarding additional requirements for the interview and a medical examination.

At the consular interview, the applicant will be required to present the original vital records documents, such as birth, marriage, and divorce records.

After the interview, the officer at the Consulate will determine whether the applicant can or cannot get their visa to go to the U.S.

Waivers of Inadmissibility

  • The filing of a family- or employment-based petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
  • The submission of supporting documents in anticipation of your consular interview to the National Visa Center (NVC).
  • The applicant’s attendance at a consular interview.

The most common ground of inadmissibility is for unlawful presence.

If an applicant is residing inside the United States after either entering without authorization or over-staying a non-immigrant visa and subsequently accumulates 6 months or more of unlawful presence, they may be eligible for a I-601A unlawful presence waiver. This waiver is available only to applicants who have no other grounds of inadmissibility besides unlawful presence.

Our consular processing attorneys will be happy to discuss your specific situation with you.

The main advantage of the I-601A unlawful presence waiver is that an applicant may submit this waiver to USCIS inside the United States, prior to departing for the consular processing interview. Once the I-601A waiver is approved, then the applicant travels abroad to attend the consular interview (as described above).

Post-Immigrant Visa Approval

Once the Visa is approved, the Consulate will generally ship the applicant’s passport containing the Immigrant Visa to a courier pick-up office anywhere from a few days to about two weeks.

The typical wait time between visa adjudication date and the passport delivery date is anywhere from a few days to about two weeks. 

The applicant will find instructions for paying the Immigrant Visa Fee inside the shipment with the passport and visa sent by the Consulate. This Immigrant Visa Fee must be paid prior to the applicant’s travel to the United States, in order to avoid delays in green card delivery.

With the immigrant visa in hand, the applicant is now ready to travel lawfully to the United States!

Please note that inspection by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) upon this first entry to the United States with an immigrant visa could take several hours to complete, whether inspection is done at an airport or at a land-based port of entry. Thus, any connecting flights within the United States must be scheduled accordingly. 

The green card should then be delivered to the address indicated on the DS-260 within a few weeks of the applicant’s admission to the United States as a lawful permanent resident.

How Pelton + Balducci Can Help

Get in touch with our Louisiana immigration attorneys today

If you need legal assistance with navigating the consular processing of immigration visas, with or without a waiver, then please give our team at Pelton + Balducci a call today at (504) 708-5400. Our team members are well versed in immigration law and cover a variety of practice areas, including but not limited to consular processing immigrant visas and waivers of inadmissibility. You may also schedule a consultation via our confidential contact form.

Get in touch with our Louisiana immigration attorneys today

If you need legal assistance with navigating the consular processing of immigration visas, with or without a waiver, then please give our team at Pelton + Balducci a call today at (504) 708-5400. Our team members are well versed in immigration law and cover a variety of practice areas, including but not limited to consular processing immigrant visas and waivers of inadmissibility. You may also schedule a consultation via our confidential contact form.

“I'm more than satisfied with my experience with Pelton & Balducci! I was very stressed about my steps for my H1B visa, but thanks to their efficiency and seriousness, I was reassured. They answered all my questions quickly and even responded to my telephone calls from France. I would recommend them to all my compatriots and colleagues without hesitation!”

- Loic B.

Contact Pelton + Balducci today: