• Consular Processing---Processing timelines
  • September 1, 2014
  • Law Firm: Cynthia I. Waisman P.A. - Clearwater Office
  • One of the most difficult things to assess when reviewing any consular processing based immigration file is the length of time until the case is complete and the person can come to the United States. There is a lot of misinformation out there that describes consular processing as simple and quick.  This is especially true for those applying for family based nonimmigrant and immigrant visas (fiance' and marriage)  Unfortunately, such promises made routinely that those cases are quick is simply incorrect.  There are three distinct agencies involved in these cases, so that delays things also in transferring the files between agencies.

    Below is a summary of the process:

    1. United States citizen relative files an application, either fiancé based or marriage based at the USCIS in America.

    2.  After submission of the application, it takes approximately 5 months for normal processing (this is based upon current timelines, these timelines fluctuate and are not always accurate on the USCIS websites)

    3.  After application is approved, the Affidavit of Support and Visa fees must be paid and a receipt must be issued.  The case is transferred to National Visa Center at this point and the visa application and Affidavit of Support is prepared and submitted. A preliminary review of these documents occurs and if they are basically ok, the case moves on to the Department of State for final processing at the embassy.  This usually takes 1-3 months.

    4.  Original Documents such as birth certificates are gathered, police certificates are arranged and medical appointments are also scheduled before the final interview is set.  The interview is set depending on how many appointments are available at the embassy.  Some interviews can be arranged in a short time frame (a few weeks) while others can take a few months. 

    In the end, the processing time can be increased due to backlogs, missing documents, illegible information, background checks and other possible reasons outside of your control.  Therefore, it is important not to expect a case to be completed by a certain date, or to anticipate travel by a certain date, because no 2 cases are ever processed in the same time frame.