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Family-based consular processing is an immigration process that helps United States citizens and permanent residents sponsor family members who wish to immigrate. This immigration processes can be complicated, especially because it involves applying through a US embassy or consulate in another country. An attorney from Hacking Immigration Law, LLC could help someone with family-based consular processing in St. Louis. Hiring an attorney means having someone on your side while you work toward obtaining a legal residency in the US.

Who May Apply Through Consular-Processing?

Two main categories of relatives may apply through the family-based consular processing system. Immediate relatives are the first category. Qualifying individuals who are immediate relatives include a US citizen’s children under 21 years old who are not married, spouses of a US citizen, and parents of US citizens.

Individuals who qualify as immediate relatives are able to immigrate without facing other restrictions that apply to most applicants. For example, these individuals can bypass waiting periods. While the process for applying for a green card is faster in these cases, there can still be challenges along the way for people in St. Louis who are seeking immigration through family-based consular processing.

Other Close Relatives

United States immigration preferences apply for other family members who do not qualify as “immediate.” There are restrictions on these immigrant groups based on their “preference group.” Preferences fall into four categories, as follows:

  • The first preference will go to US citizens’ unmarried children over 21 years old.
  • The second preference goes to legal residents’ spouses and children under 21 years old.
  • The third preference includes married children of US citizens, along with their spouses and children.
  • The fourth preference applies to the siblings of US citizens.

While these options are more limited, they do present an avenue for many hopeful immigrants. It is important to note that while consular processing is sometimes faster than applying from within the United States, this form of applying for a visa could mean long periods of time away from one’s family members who are living in America. An attorney could explain the process and steps that these family members need to take in order to take advantage of a consular processing opportunity in St. Louis.

Steps for Family-Based Consular Processing

Once a person finds that they qualify for family-based consular processing, they must complete an immigrant petition. Consular processing applies to individuals who are not in the United States, and therefore apply through an American consulate or a United States embassy. Once filed, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) either approves or denies the petition.

Unfortunately, there is no right to appeal for consular-processing cases if the USCIS denies the petition. When the government approves the request, the petition goes to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, where they apply an immigrant visa number to the petition. Next, the NVC schedules an interview, and after that, decides whether the person qualifies for a visa.

The applicant must inform the NVC of significant changes that occur when they are waiting for their visa. Once they receive the visa, they can come to the United States and receive a green card in the mail about 45 days later. Speaking to an attorney in St. Louis could help a person navigate the family-based consular visa process.

Contact a Family Visa Attorney in St. Louis for Help with Consular Processing

Applying for family-based consular processing often helps keep loved ones together by offering a path to citizenship. While this process should aid families, it can also present certain challenges.

An immigration attorney could work with you to navigate the process and get your visa. If you are pursuing immigration through family-based consular processing in St. Louis, contact a lawyer to discuss your case.

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