Most of my clients who are presently inside the U.S., and who are going to leave to consular process, are from Mexico. Most of my clients (and especially their families) are terrified to leave the U.S. They may have heard horror stories where a person leaves to go to the US Consulate in Mexico, only to be stuck outside the US for many months or even years! In addition, people are afraid to go to Ciudad Juarez period. It has a reputation (in the past, at least) to be a very dangerous place. Clients may wonder, "will I be robbed?", "will someone try to trick me or take advantage of me or my loved one?", "how will I know where to go, and when?", "where should I stay?", and, again, "What if I never get back to the U.S.?!?"
Becuase so many of my clients go to Ciudad Juarez to consular process, and because of the many concerns they often had, I decided to go and experience the consular process myself. Several months ago, I went to Ciudad Juarez several times, two with clients who were approved by the consulate for permanent residency!
I learned a LOT by personally visiting Juarez. Although I could not charge my clients for my attending (it was technically not legally necessary for an attorney to be there, and attorneys cannot even generally enter the consulate with their clients), I feel that my experiences gave me insight that can be helpful to my future clients, and to others.
In this series of blogs, I'd like to discuss the consular process from the beginning. Most cases involve three stages, or at least I like to divide the process that way.
1.) The initial I-130 immigrant petition;
2.) the unlawful presence waiver, explain who needs one and how to get it, the filing of the DS-260, affidavit of support, and other supporting documentation and
3.) receiving the appointment letter for the consulate, when to leave,
how to schedule the biometrics appointment
and the medical exam,
where to stay in Juarez,
how to get the actual visa and return through the border to the United States.
I will include stories from my personal experiences, and the experiences of some clients.
Consular Processing is a way for an undocumented person, married to a US Citizen or who is the child or parent of a US Citizen, to become legal, because he or she does not have a lawful entry into the United States. It is a lengthy process but with an experienced law firm, can go smoothly and predictably, and does not have to be a mysterious or terrifying process. Stay tuned for the second installment in the series.
This is part 1 in a series about consular processing. Click the title to read the next article in the series, "The I-130 Petition for Alien Relative."
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