After the family petition is approved, immediate relatives who are not in the United States apply for consular processing. This is the term for the process starting with Case Creation at the National Visa Center and ending with an immigrant visa interview at a US embassy. As explained by the Department of State, the immigrant visa process involves 11 steps after filing the petition. Their website is detailed, but cannot substitute for the advice of a helpful, experienced professional who takes care of you.

Blandon Law has been answering the question “how do I consular process the visa?” for over 20 years.  We message the National Visa Center. We make payments to their website, upload documents and complete the applications for our clients.  Then, we practice our clients for the interview and stay in contact until they enter the United States.


Consular processing does not begin until the Priority Date becomes CURRENT. Family members who fall in preference categories have to wait years before this next step. Often, they wait outside the United States.  This is what a Priority Date looks like on a receipt from Immigration:

Dept of Homeland Security Form I-797C Immigration Notice of Action

In the receipt above, the Priority Date is the same as the Received Date of the application. This is not so in many employment-based cases. A Priority Date becomes CURRENT when applications filed on that date become a priority to the government at the current time. For example, at the current time (this month and year), the government may be making petitions filed by legal permanent residents on behalf of their spouses in April 2018 a priority. So, this month, the Priority Date of April 2018 is CURRENT for the category “spouse of resident.”

It is impossible to guess processing times. Also, review for each preference category moves at different speeds.  Check the Priority Date being handled this month by reading the chart on the Visa Bulletin.


After the case is received from Immigration, and the Priority Date becomes current, the National Visa Center begins handling it.  The NVC sends a Case Creation or Welcome Letter.  The visa interview will be scheduled at the U.S. embassy after the NVC finishes processing.  Hire an immigration attorney when you receive this first email, or letter. Call Blandon Law so we can register as the Attorney of Record and represent all members of the family in consular processing, from beginning to end.

BEWARE:  a case can be terminated if a response is not received within one year.  Terminated means that the petition will be as good as thrown away; the case will be over.  The time and money spent to get to that point will have been for nothing. If you have not replied to an NVC notice in almost a year, call Blandon Law right away so we can get to work immediately.


If an application is improperly filled out, or documents do not show what is needed, or wrong statements are made at the embassy interview, the visa will be denied.  This is true even for an immigrant visa if the family petition was approved by Immigration.

After a visa denial, an applicant may need to wait many months to apply again. That is time that could have been spent with family in the United States, possibly earning money working.  

Rather than wasting time reinventing the consular processing wheel, let our award-winning team do our best for you. The Department of State website is constantly crashing and erasing information on the immigrant visa application.  Also, getting a response from the National Visa Center can take a long time. Because we represent our clients from beginning to end, Blandon Law attorneys deliver an easy consular process.