Steps of Family-Based Consular Processing

Steps of Family-Based Consular Processing

Family-Based Consular Processing

Immigration visas in the United States provide an opportunity for people to live and work in the United States. The process of obtaining a family-based visa, and eventual legal permanent resident status, is complex. A Salinas immigration lawyer can help you through it and will understand the necessary steps to take.

Speak With an Immigration Lawyer

The immigration system in the United States is notoriously complex, and one small mistake could result in being denied a visa. An immigration lawyer can advise on the type of visa that is right for you, and make the process as easy as possible. Some past actions can make you inadmissible to the United States, and understanding the recourses (such as a waiver) you may have should be done early on in your case.

Submit Petition

To submit your family petition you must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. You can do this through the mail or online, and it is normally filed by the U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident family member inside the United States. If you are submitting a petition and you are not in the country, you should speak to a lawyer that can advise you of your options.

Approval of Petition

Your Petitioner will be processed by USCIS, and you will receive an I-797 Notice of Action, approval notice when the Petition is approved. You can check USCIS processing times for your I-130 by the office that has been assigned to your case. Processing time information is available at:

Send Fees and Documents to NVC

If your petition is approved,  your case will be transferred to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC). This is the first step when creating your case within the system. After you have submitted the necessary forms, supporting documents, and fees, the U.S. Department of State will review your case to determine if more documentation is required before scheduling the immigrant visa interview.

Affidavit of Support Filed

Also called a Form I-864, the Affidavit of Support is a legal document a person must sign that states they accept financial responsibility for the immigrant wishing to live in the United States. The person that signs the Affidavit of Support must present evidence that they are capable of supporting the visa holder. After signing, the document becomes legally binding until the immigrant has worked for ten years, becomes a U.S. citizen, or other conditions are met.

Complete Online Application

Every family member that qualifies to immigrate with you must complete the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration. Submitting the online application does not mean you have formally applied for a visa. The application is not considered official until the applicant has been interviewed.

Submit Civil Documents

You must collect civil documents that support the visa application, and every family member that is immigrating with you must also have these civil documents. The exact documents you need will depend on the country you are immigrating from and the immigrant’s relationship with the Petitioner.

Interview Preparation and Medical Examination

A lawyer can help you gather the necessary documents you will need for the interview and will let you know what you can expect at the interview. Prior to the interview, you must complete a full medical examination and register for courier service.

The Interview

You must go to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the scheduled date and time of your interview. You must attend, as well as your spouse and any unmarried children that qualify. The people in attendance will be listed within the paperwork you received from the NVC. You should bring your appointment letter, your passport, photographs, the DS-260 confirmation page, and any supporting documents. The exact requirements will vary by consulate.


If you are approved for a visa, you will be told how and when you will receive your passport and your visa. Do not sell any property, quit your job, or make any travel arrangements until you have received your visa.


Our Immigration Lawyer in Salinas Can Help With Your Visa

Obtaining a family-based visa will allow you to live and work in the United States, but the process is not easy. At Miranda, Magden & Miranda, our Salinas immigration lawyer will help you navigate the complex process and secure the best outcome for you and your family. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a consultation.


We provide our clients with experienced immigration lawyers who are knowledgeable of the law and have the diligence to navigate your case.

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