A U.S. citizen who has a relative in a foreign country they want to sponsor and take to the U.S. can do so with a process called consular processing. There are three steps to this immigration case, with some parts happening within the U.S. and others conducted abroad, specifically in a U.S. consulate in the applicant’s country of residence.

Step 1: Filing of the Petition

The first step to kickstart the process is filing the petition. The appropriate form to submit to sponsor someone from overseas is the I130 form, which is submitted to the Department of Homeland Security in the U.S.

The sponsor in the U.S., who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, takes the responsibility of filing the I130 petition for the relative overseas.

Step 2: Accomplishment and Submission of Documents

Once the form is cleared by the Department of Homeland Security, the form gets transferred to the Department of State, specifically in the National Visa Center. At this point, the sponsor will need to submit the DS260 form for every family member seeking a visa, as well as other financial and civil documents.

These include copies of:

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Police certificates
  • Court records, etc.

Step 3: Immigrant Visa Interview

When all required documents have been submitted and approved by the National Visa Center, the case will be sent over to a U.S. embassy abroad. The relative overseas will be required to attend an immigrant visa interview, which will be conducted at a U.S. consulate in their country of residence.

Engaging a lawyer can help both the sponsor and their relatives overseas through consular processing in immigration. They can provide assistance from filling up the form all the way to preparing for the interview.