Immigrant Visa Processing is a procedure available to all intending immigrants with approved alien relative petitions, which allows them to apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate in their home country or country of residence.
Requirements For Immigrant Visa Processing
A foreign national who is the beneficiary of an approved relative petition and has an immigrant visa number immediately available may apply at a U.S. consulate abroad for an immigrant visa in order to come to the United States and be admitted as a permanent resident. This process is referred to as “Immigrant Visa Processing.”
A. Eligibility To Apply For Immigrant Visa Processing
To be eligible to receive an immigrant visa through consular processing, the foreign national must:
- Have an approved relative petition;
- Plan to engage in the activities that are consistent with the immigrant visa category;
- Have an immigrant petition priority date that is current;
- Prove satisfaction of all the admissibility criteria to enter the U.S. as an immigrant.
B. Ineligibility To Apply For Immigrant Visa Processing
The consular officer may deny immigrant visas to foreign nationals on any of the following grounds:
1. Health-Related Grounds:
a. The foreign national has a communicable disease and the disease is of public health significance.
b. The foreign national has not met the vaccination requirements.
c. The foreign national has a physical or mental disorder and may pose a threat to the property, safety or welfare of others.
d. The foreign national has been or is a drug abuser or a drug addict.
e. The foreign national is an alcohol abuser or an alcohol addict, and may pose a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of others
2. Criminal And Related Grounds:
a.The foreign national has committed crimes involving moral turpitude or crimes involving controlled substances
b.The foreign national has had multiple criminal convictions, and the offenses committed are other than purely political, and the aggregate sentences to confinement are five or more years.
c.The foreign national has been convicted of trafficking controlled substances, or is the spouse, son, or daughter of a foreign national who is or has been an illicit trafficker or knowing assister, abettor, conspirator, or colluder with others in the illicit trafficking of any controlled substance.
d.The foreign national has been a prostitute, or is entering the U.S. to practice prostitution, or directly or indirectly procured or attempted to procure or import prostitutes or persons for the purpose of prostitution.
e.The foreign national is coming to the U.S. to engage in an unlawful commercialized vice.
3. Security And Related Grounds:
a.The foreign national plans to enter the U.S. to engage solely, principally, or incidentally in any activity to violate any law of the U.S. relating to espionage or sabotage.
b.The foreign national plans to enter the U.S. to engage solely, principally, or incidentally in any activity to violate or evade any law prohibiting the export from the U.S. of goods, technology, or sensitive information.
c.The foreign national plans to enter the U.S. to engage solely, principally, or incidentally in any activity a purpose of which is the opposition to, or the control or overthrow of, the Government of the U.S.
4. Public Charge:
The foreign national is considered likely to become a public charge, in the opinion of the consular officer at the time of application.
5. Illegal Entrants And Immigration Violators:
a. The foreign national previously arrived in the U.S. at a time or place other than as designated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
b.The foreign national failed or refused to attend or remain in attendance at a removal proceeding.
c.The foreign national seeks to procure (or has procured) immigration benefits by fraud or misrepresentation.
d.The foreign national falsely claimed U.S. citizenship.
e.The foreign national is a stowaway.
f.The foreign national is an alien smuggler.
g.The foreign national is the subject of a final order for violation related to document fraud.
h.The foreign national has been a student visa abuser.
6. Documentation Requirements:
a.The foreign national is a returning permanent resident, who at the time of application for admission, is not in possession of any valid unexpired entry document.
b.The foreign national is a returning permanent resident, who at the time of application for admission is not in possession of any valid unexpired travel document.
c.The foreign national is an immigrant whose visa has been issued without compliance with the provisions of INA 203 (Allocation of Immigrant Visas).
7. Ineligibility For Citizenship:
a.The foreign national is permanently ineligible to receive U.S. citizenship.
b.The foreign national has departed from or has remained outside the U.S. to avoid or evade training or service in the armed forces in time of war or a period declared by the President to be a national emergency.
8. Aliens Previously Removed And Aliens Unlawfully Present:
a.The foreign national has been ordered removed from the U.S.
b.The foreign national was unlawfully present in the U.S. for a period of more than 180 days but less than one year (barred from entering the U.S. for three years).
c.The foreign national was unlawfully present in the U.S. for a period of more than one year (barred from entering the U.S. for ten years).
9. Miscellaneous Grounds:
a.The foreign national is coming to the U.S. to practice polygamy.
b.The foreign national is a guardian accompanying an inadmissible alien.
c.The foreign national is an international child abductor, or a supporter or a relative of an international child abductor.
d.The foreign national is a former U.S. citizen who renounced citizenship to avoid taxation.
10. J-1 visa Two-Year Foreign Residence Requirement:
a.The foreign national has participated in a J-1 program in the U.S. that was financed by an agency of the U.S. government or by the government of the country of nationality or last residence or in a field contained in the “Skills list”, and
b.The foreign national has not resided in his or her home country for at least two years following departure from the U.S. or obtained a waiver.
NOTE: Not all J-1 exchange visitors are subject to the two year home residency requirement. Some former J-1 exchange visitors must live abroad for 2 years.
C. Availability of Immigrant Visas
The foreign national applicant must be eligible to receive an immigrant visa and the immigrant visa must be immediately available for him or her to apply for immigrant visa.
USA Immigrant Visa VS. AOS Comparison
DelayThe foreign national is able to remain in the U.S. and continue workingThe foreign national may be stranded outside the U.S. until the problems are resolved
|Features||AOS||USA Immigrant Visa Processing|
|Filing Processing Time Attorney Representation||Inside the US||Outside the US|
|5 to 13 months||3 to 13 months|
|Yes, throughout the process||Yes, but only with NVC; No representation at the Consulate|
|Stay inside the US||Yes||No. Can only travel once they have an immigrant visa.|
|Travel||Adjustment of Status does not require any international travel||Consular cases may require travel by the principal applicant and family members to the American consulate in the country of nationality or last residence.|
|Police Certificates Appeal||Not Required||Required|
|There are procedures for appealing or renewing a denied application for adjustment of status||There are no appeal procedures for a denied immigrant visa application|
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