Adjustment of Status vs Consular Processing: Choosing the Right Path

adjustment of status vs consular processing

The immigration process can be circuitous and lengthy. Even after your I-140 or I-130 immigration petition has been approved by USCIS, you still will have to wait for a visa to be available to you. Then, after you have an approved immigrant petition, you’ll need a valid non-immigrant visa to stay in America until the day your priority date becomes current in the monthly Visa bulletin. When that day arrives, you’ll have to know the difference between, Adjustment of Status vs Consular Processing

When it comes to applying for permanent residence in the US, those may be the two main procedural routes. We can help with both. These are some of the questions ‘we’re often asked. 

What is Adjustment of Status? 

With an “Adjustment of Status,” your application will be handled entirely in the United States. Specifically, it will be handled by the USCIS. By filing Form I-485, you’ll be able to adjust your status from “non-immigrant” to “Lawful Permanent Resident.” This process can be lengthy in its own right, from six months up to a year. Due to that, those filing for Adjustment of Status are eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Card at the same time. 

What is Consular Processing? 

“Consular Processing” means more or less what it sounds like the processing is done by the consulate or US embassy in the home country of the applicant. So, after you’ve obtained an immigrant petition (Form I-140 or Form I-130) which was filed by a US employer or family, you must submit your green card application to the consulate or US embassy in the home country of the applicant (in this context, you). 

Adjustment of Status Vs Consular Processing 

While these two particular immigration routes are often mentioned together, it’s important to note that they are entirely different, in terms of documentation to support your case, the timeline, the application forms, their deadlines, and so much more. Thus, you can’t be too careful when it comes to putting together your application. By working with attorneys who are experienced with both consular processing as well as adjustments of status, you give yourself the best chance of success with your petition and not, say, receiving an RFE. Additionally, we may be able to help if you need to apply for an extension or change of non-immigrant status, too. 

Immigration Solutions 

These are just two of the ways that someone may potentially immigrate to the United States. There are many others. Yes, we can help you to go through the consular processing or the entire adjustment of status process. However, many of our clients have initially reached out to us because they knew they wanted to immigrate to the United States (or their family members wanted to) and they weren’t sure exactly where (or how) to start. We can help. Contact us for a case evaluation. We’ll lay out your various options so that you can pursue your immigration dreams. 

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