Consular Processing

Consular processing is the method of applying for an immigrant visa to the United States at a foreign consulate. Attaining a visa is the first step in the pathway to achieving permanent legal residence status, also known as a Green Card. 

The journey to becoming a U.S. citizen can be overwhelming, but we are here to walk you through the process. Nassim Arzani, Esq. is a nationally-ranked immigration lawyer with over 17 years of experience helping families realize the American dream. To learn how Ms. Arzani’s expertise and dedication can benefit you, please contact our offices. We have two convenient locations in Southern California: Riverside and Orange County. Call (951) 683-0900 to schedule an appointment and begin your quest for citizenship.

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The Consular Processing Procedure

The following steps offer a guide to follow when considering the path of consular processing.

Eligibility and Petition

What is the basis for your Green Card application? There are many circumstances that may warrant your eligibility for permanent residency. For example, you may have a family member petition for your citizenship. Your military service may qualify you for a pathway to legal resident status. Humanitarian work could pave the way to your American citizenship, or your employer might be able to file a petition on your behalf.

Wait for a Decision and Notification

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will assess your petition based on its merits. If your application is approved, the National Visa Center (NVC) will notify you of your visa number and how to proceed regarding processing fees and paperwork. If you need any help working through these steps, please do not hesitate to call us for advice.

Attend Your Consulate Appointment

To get assistance in preparing for your consular office visit, please contact Nassim Arzani, Esq.

Once your visa processing moves forward, your consulate will schedule an in-person interview. Be prompt, courteous, and ready to share your story. Be sure to notify your consulate of any changes in your case, even after your interview. For example, if you get married, change address, or turn 21 years of age, this information is relevant to your ongoing citizenship application process.

Receiving Your Visa and/or Green Card

If your visa application is approved, your consulate will provide you a “Visa Packet,” but please do not open it. Instead, bring it with you to Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) after paying any necessary fees online before you travel to the U.S. If all of your payments and Visa Packet paperwork are in order, the CBP should allow you admittance into the United States. Within 45 days of your arrival, your Green Card should be mailed to you.

If you have any difficulties along the way, please call our Orange County or Riverside offices at (951) 683-0900.

What If I’m Already in the United States?

consular processing

The thought of traveling back to your country of origin may cause distress, especially in these turbulent times. Family separation is a tragic reality, and you may be hesitant to lose sight of your loved ones, even for a brief duration. 

To alleviate your concern, schedule a consultation with Nassim Arzani, Esq. She can help you navigate your uncertainty and advise you on the best ways to stay connected with family, friends, and loved ones. Even if you have been in the United States without documentation, you can apply for a waiver to aid you in the ongoing struggle to attain permanent residence.

I-601A Provisional Waiver

Provisional waivers allow you to waive the period of unlawful presence you accrued in the United States. An I-601A waiver allows you to remain in the U.S. during the pendency of your visa application. On January 3, 2013, the Department of Homeland Security published a regulation allowing immediate family members of U.S. citizens who entered the U.S. without inspection to apply for “form I-601A provisional waivers” in the United States. These waivers apply to applicants who are otherwise ineligible to adjust their status in the U.S. due to unlawful presence. Once their waivers are approved by the USCIS, families and/or individuals will be eligible to attend their appointments for immigrant visas (Green Cards) in their countries of origin.

What Is the Goal of the Waiver Program?

The aim of this program, which became effective on March 4, 2013, is to avoid separating spouses, children, and grandchildren of U.S. citizens from their families for months – or even years – while their waivers are pending.

Now, these family members will obtain their waivers before departing the U.S. The waiver program helps applicants safely travel abroad to be interviewed at their consulate. They can then return to their families in the U.S. within just a few days or weeks. Our law office specializes in getting waivers approved in a timely and efficient manner.

Private Consultation in Orange County

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Nassim Arzani, Esq. has spent her life fighting for you, and she hasn’t even met you yet. She has earned the distinction of being a Certified Specialist in Immigration & Naturalization Law, as designated by the California State Bar. Nationally, Ms. Arzani has been ranked as one of the Top 10 Immigration Attorneys, according to the American Institute of Legal Counsel.

In addition to the many accolades Ms. Arzani has amassed, she is also a great listener. Contact us today to begin your consultation process. In the meantime, feel free to read our blog to get a glimpse of how passionate Nassim Arzani is about immigration law. 

Case Studies

case studies consular processing

Tattoos mean many different things to many different people. Your tattoo may commemorate a loved one or a favorite song, but it should never prevent you from living your best life. And yet, tattoos almost kept Luis Ascencio from becoming an American citizen. The U.S. consulate in El Salvador attempted to deny Mr. Ascencio a visa to return to the United States. They argued that his tattoos indicated gang affiliations, despite the fact that Mr. Ascencio had never been involved in any gang activities.

Luckily, Mr. Ascencio was happily married to Sandra Munoz, a native-born citizen. Ms. Munoz fought on her husband’s behalf and won a series of legal battles defending his honor and his rights. The case of Munoz v. U.S. Department of State provides meaningful precedent when it comes to consular processing. 

But the fight is far from over. A more recent case, Kerry v. Din, illustrates how the Supreme Court can deny the rights of a married partner to investigate their respective spouse’s visa proceedings. Even though Ms. Din had been married to her husband for nine years, her petition to gain citizenship for her husband fell on deaf ears. 

Reason to Believe

One of the biggest obstacles facing those in the midst of consular processing is the “reason to believe” clause. Consular officers may use their own subjective standards to deem an individual as a potential drug trafficker, for example. It is difficult to prove one’s innocence when the burden of proof for “reason to believe” claims are so vague. Too often, it is your word against the officer’s, so you might need help presenting your case.

Nassim Arzani, Esq. will raise your voice until you are heard, loud and clear. Consular processing can be complicated and frustrating, but we will never stop fighting for our clients.

Call Ms. Arzani at (951) 683-0900 to enlist her in your ongoing legal battle.

We Deliver Results

Immigration law is more than just a series of precedents and paperwork; it is the difference between the life you want and the life you are leaving behind. Great feats are often difficult to achieve, but they are always worth the effort. U.S. laws change every day, and Nassim Arzani charges to the forefront of each update. 

Ms. Arzani studies immigration law so that her vast knowledge can benefit her grateful clients. They are not merely “cases” to her – they are husbands and wives, sons and daughters, families and communities and neighbors and friends. Our success stories weave together to form the fabric of America. United we stand. To become one of Ms. Arzani’s next triumphant clients, please contact our offices in Southern California. 

Cost of Legal Services in Orange County

You have spent years reaching for the American dream, so you don’t want to spend needless money on top of that. Nassim Arzani can advise you on the most efficient ways to navigate consular processing in order to direct your finances where they are needed most. You will need to pay various processing fees for your visa and Green Card, plus you want to start your life in the United States with a proper nest egg. Ms. Arzani will deliver the best immigration legal help at the right price. Call her at (951) 683-0900 to start a conversation about your unique pathway to success. 


What’s a provisional waiver and what is it needed for?

If you have spent time in the United States without the proper documentation or overstayed a visa, a provisional waiver may help pardon the time you’ve spent in the United States unlawfully. Once U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves Form I-160A, you may travel back to your nation of origin to appear for consular processing. The waiver program is meant to allow you to depart the United States for your consular interview and grant you lawful entry in the United States.  

How do I become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR)? 

There are several ways to become a resident, but the most common is through family-based immigration. Family-based immigration involves a petition from the petitioner, typically a relative who is a United States Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident, for the intending immigrant, otherwise known as the beneficiary. Please see the Family-Based Immigration section of our website for more information about the process and how Nassim Arzani can help. 

What is consular processing and how does it apply to me?

Consular processing is the act of applying for a U.S. visa at the consulate of your native country. Whether you are exploring consular processing or attempting to adjust your status from within the U.S., Nassim Arzani can help. Take one look at her glowing reviews and see just how life-changing her services can be. We are humbled by our clients’ kind words and we will strive to add you to our growing list of success stories.


  1. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website (2020). Consular Processing page.
  2. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website (2020). Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers page.

Relevant case precedent: