The consular NVC process is an intermediary step after getting the I-140 petition, which is the foundational document that allows somebody to get their green card.
Rule of Thumb for Green Cards
If you live in another country, you have to get your green card in the form of an immigrant visa at the consulate that will then permit you to come and live here in the U.S.
If you’re currently in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa who’s looking to get a green card, you have the choice to either apply for an adjustment of status or go through this consular NVC process.
How It Works
Once your I-140 petition is approved, your case will get sent to the NVC (National Visa Center.) They do additional document gathering and information collecting. These resources and documents will be then forwarded to the consulate or the embassy in your home country that will ultimately be reviewing your case for final adjudication and interview.
When to consider getting an adjustment of status process vs. the NVC consular process:
- Individual goals
Adjustment of status is only if you’re in the United States. And if it’s not burdensome for you to stay in the U.S without traveling for 6-7 months, you can take the option of adjustment of status process.
But if you need to constantly travel, such as when you have business meetings abroad or you have relatives or family members that you need to regularly provide care for or check on them, consider going down the consular processing route.
- Underlying visa type
There are some visas that allow you to travel during those six to seven months. On the other hand, even if you’re outside the U.S. and you have a valid tourist visa or underlying visa, the customs and border patrol officers are kind enough to allow you to still enter the United States while your green card application is pending abroad.
Everything is very case-specific. So if you have those types of cases, consult with an attorney so that you can get all the help you need and be guided accordingly.
For more information and resources on the NVC process, check out Immigration Law for Tech Startups podcast. If you’d like to listen, head over to 022: Navigating the NVC.