If the intending immigrant resides outside of the United States, he or she can only obtain the Visa to enter the United States by engaging in the process known as Consular Processing.
Consular Processing itself contains many moving parts and can be somewhat complicated.
Consular Processing begins shortly after the Immigrant Visa Petition has been approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. Once it has been approved, it is sent to an organization known as the National Visa Center.
The National Visa Center acts like a major hub airport. It is responsible for sending the approved Immigrant Visa Petition to the appropriate United States Consulate abroad.
After it is received the United States Consulate will contact the intending immigrant to provide instructions on getting the Medical Examination, photographs, police records, birth certificate, marriage certificate (if applicable) and any other documentation required.
After all of the documents are assembled an in-person interview will be scheduled for the intending immigrant. If the interview goes well, the valid and unexpired passport will get stamped and the Immigrant Visa will be approved.
The Immigrant Visa will be used by the intending immigrant to enter into the United States. The Immigrant Visa must be used within six (6) months from the date it was issued. Upon inspection and entry into the United States the intending immigrant acquires Lawful Permanent Residence status. A few weeks later the actual Green Card will be mailed.