What is the Difference Between Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing?


Adjustment of status and consular processing are both ways that you can obtain lawful permanent resident status, or a green card. Most people become eligible to apply for a green card through an eligible family member or employer who files a petition on your behalf. Once the petition has been approved and an immigrant visa is available in your category, you can apply for a green card. Whether you go through adjustment of status or consular processing, however, depends in large part on your location at the time that the petition is filed.

If you are already physically present in the U.S., you can apply for a green card without having to return to your home country for processing. You file a Form I-485 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to start the green card application process. Once you file this form, you will receive a notice for a biometrics appointment at a local Application Support Center, at which you will have to provide your fingerprints, photograph, and/or signature. You also will sign an acknowledgment that all of the information that you have provided USCIS is true and complete. After USCIS reviews your application, you, and your sponsor, in some circumstances, may have to attend an interview with a USCIS official and produce all necessary original documents. When USCIS makes a decision on your application, you will receive a written notice.

Permanent Resident

What is the Difference Between Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing?

Alternatively, if you are located outside of the U.S., you can apply for lawful permanent resident status at a U.S. State Consulate abroad for an immigrant visa so that you can come to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident. This procedure is referred to as consular processing. There are certain circumstances in which you can file an immigrant petition for an immediate relative with a USCIS field office, U.S. embassy, or consulate abroad, such as if you are an American citizen and there is an international USCIS field office located in the country. This process also may be available for members of the military, in certain emergency situations, and in situations involving the health or safety of the petitioning party.

If you or a family member is dealing with an immigration law issue, we may be able to help. As experienced Texas immigration attorneys, we have the knowledge needed to help you navigate through the often-complex process of obtaining a visa. Call us today at (512) 359-3362 and schedule an appointment with one of our skilled immigration lawyers and learn how we can assist you.

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