United States consulates and embassies in foreign countries process immigration applications and conduct interviews to determine whether a foreign national may enter the United States and the terms of stay in the United States. The consular approval process can be lengthy and may require considerable documentation.
Consular processing is one of the methods that can be used by an individual seeking permanent resident status. An individual who is not in the United States, or for whom Adjustment of Status is not available, can use consular processing to obtain permanent resident status. The beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition who has an immigrant visa number immediately available (i.e. priority date is current) applies for the immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate abroad; if the immigrant visa is granted, the individual may travel to the United States and be admitted as a permanent resident of the United States after inspection at a port of entry.