Getting your green card is the ultimate approval for permanent residency in California or in any other U.S state. If you are not in the U.S., you can go to a Department of State consulate to get an immigrant visa. You can then come to the U.S. to be admitted as a permanent resident. This path to residency is known as consular processing.
How to begin the consular process
The path of immigration to the U.S. doesn’t have to be hard. But there are many steps along the way that you will need to complete. The first step will be to determine if you are eligible to file for a green card. If you meet all of the criteria, you will be allowed to proceed.
The first step is to file a petition to immigrate, which is then reviewed. If you have a family member who is a citizen or permanent resident, they can file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative on your behalf. You can also come to the U.S. for the purpose of employment or receiving humanitarian aid.
You’ll receive a notification from the National Visa Center
After your petition has been filed, you will need to wait for an official decision. In the meantime, it may help your case if you maintain continuous residence in the U.S. If a visa is granted, you will receive a notification from the National Visa Center. There will be application and processing fees to pay.
Once a visa is available, you will schedule an appointment for an interview at the consular office. They will process your case and determine if you are eligible for an immigration visa. If you are granted a visa, it will come with a “Visa Packet” full of info. There will also be a USCIS fee.