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Adjustment of status vs. consular processing

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2024 | immigration |

If you want to apply for a lawful permanent resident status in the U.S., you have two options – adjustment of status and consular processing. You need to understand these two terms if you are eligible to apply for a Green Card.

How do they differ, and which one should you use?

Adjustment of status

If you are currently in the U.S. and have an approved immigrant petition and an immigrant visa is available, you can use the adjustment of status process. You will file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

To have an approved immigration petition, you must meet certain eligibility requirements, including you must have been inspected and admitted or inspected and paroled into the U.S. by an immigration officer.

If you don’t have an approved immigration petition, you can file the petition and the Form I‑485 together at the same time. This is known as concurrent filing. Basically, this process allows you to file for an adjustment of status application (Form I-485) before your immigrant visa petition is approved. 

Consular processing 

If you are outside the U.S., you may use consular processing. Visit a U.S. Department of State consulate in your region to apply for an immigrant visa to come to the U.S. to be admitted as a permanent resident.

You will complete all the processes outside the U.S. If you are successful and are admitted into the country, you will receive your green card in the mail.

Concurrent filing is not available in consular processing cases.

The Green Card application process can be challenging. That’s why it’s crucial to obtain adequate information from the get-go. Consider legal help to know the steps to take based on your circumstances.