Understanding Consular Processing: What is it and how does Argo help?

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

Envoy Global has announced a new partnership with Argo, the world’s first company to create a cutting-edge technology platform which connects visa applicants with former consular officers. To better understand how Argo can help visa applicants outside the U.S. prepare for interviews and secure an immigrant visa, it’s important to know how consular processing works and why a successful interview is critical.

Consular processing, explained:

What are embassies and consulates?

The U.S. Department of State is a federal executive department responsible for carrying out U.S. foreign policy and international relations. U.S. diplomats work at embassies and consulates globally and perform a range of duties including assisting U.S. citizens abroad, analyzing and reporting on local country conditions related to U.S. interests, and processing U.S. visa applications.

An embassy is the headquarters for U.S. government representatives serving in a foreign country, including the ambassador who is nominated by the president and confirmed by the senate. In addition to the embassy, most countries have additional offices known as consulates located in select cities.

How does consular processing work?

Most foreign nationals outside the U.S. seeking a nonimmigrant or immigrant visa must apply through a U.S. consulate and have their visa approved by a consular officer before entering the U.S.

Applicants must first pay a fee and submit Form DS-160 or Form DS-260, which collects biographic, visa-eligibility, and security-related information, and prepare any required documentation to be brought in-hand. This can include additional forms, birth or marriage certificates, and employment-related supporting documents. Some employment-based visa applications, like the H-1B, require the prior approval of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) petition that is the basis for the visa application. Other employment-based visa applications, like H-1B1, E3, and L-1 Blanket, require only the visa application.

What is the impact of consular processing on the application process?

The most important step of the process is to schedule and attend an in-person interview with a consular officer, who has final discretion in deciding whether to approve or deny the visa. The applicant will be fingerprinted and photographed and interviewed about the visa application and prospective travel to the U.S. and must demonstrate that they have strong ties to their home country and intend to enter the U.S. for a limited period of time for specific activities related to the visa for which they are applying. Unlike USCIS officers, consular officers cannot refuse to issue a visa based on discretion, which means that they must have specific, factual evidence for denying an application. However, cases that are denied are generally non-reviewable.

For more information on consular processing, catch our on-demand
webinar with Argo’s Chris Richardson and Mandy Feurerbacher

What does Argo do?

For many applicants, the visa interview can be confusing or frustrating, due to language or cultural barriers or a lack of familiarity with the process. In addition, if an officer decides to deny a visa application, it can be challenging to have future visas approved. Due to these pressures, many applicants turn to outside consultants or agents who often lack the experience or credentials to provide advice.

Argo aims to better prepare visa applicants for consular interviews by connecting them with experts who have first-hand knowledge about the consular application process. Argo’s officers are former consular officers who were responsible for adjudicating nonimmigrant visas for tourism, studies, and employment, as well as immigrant visas for permanent residence in the U.S. Argo Officers conduct one-on-one consultations with foreign nationals to give them the best chance of succeeding at their visa interviews.

To learn more about Argo and Envoy’s partnership, click here. To find out more about how Argo can help organizations like yours, visit their website.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.