Processing Visas at Consulates
Often before an applicant may enter the United States, he or she must process a “visa” through a US Consulate. The US Department of State governs processing at consulates, embassies, or other designated foreign posts. A “visa” is a travel document that allows an individual to travel to the United States and apply for “status” at a port-of-entry into the United States. Processing at a consulate usually, but not always, follows the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s adjudication of a petition or other determination of eligibility for a particular benefit. An individual may process an immigrant (Permanent Residence) or nonimmigrant (Temporary Visa) through a US Foreign Post. Consulates also assist with international adoption processing. Which foreign post may depend on the consulate’s jurisdiction, the applicant’s residence, and the type of matter under review.
Most consulates do not permit the presence of representatives, including attorneys, inside the consulate, even for interviews or other contact with officers. However, consulates may recognize that an applicant is represented upon receipt of a properly executed entry of appearance with the US Department of State. Representatives may also communicate with the consulate on behalf of an applicant during processing and post decision, especially for unusual or sensitive matters and applications that require an expedited process or special handling.