Consular Processing vs. Adjustment of Status

On Behalf of | May 10, 2022 | Firm News

When applying for a U.S. green card, which is another name for Permanent Resident, there are two options: Consular Processing and Adjustment of Status. Learn which one is your best option as we compare Consular Processing vs. Adjustment of Status. Bear in mind that in many cases, you won’t have an option to choose between these two routes, but some cases do allow for a choice.

What is Consular Processing and Adjustment of Status?

Consular Processing comes after you have filed either Form 1-130 or I-140 and it has been approved on your behalf. Following the visa’s approval, you’d submit your green card application and schedule an interview at a U.S. consulate/embassy that’s located in your country of origin. From there, the immigration process would commence as usual.

An Adjustment of Status is different. This is used when your green card application is processed in the U.S., something that is done at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office domestically. In some cases, when immediate relatives have sponsored you for immigration, your visa and status paperwork can be submitted simultaneously at the USCIS office.

Pros & Cons of Consular Processing

Consular Processing has some pros and cons. In some regions of the country, a consulate office is capable of expediting the processing of visa applications at a far faster rate than a USCIS office would, giving you an advantage timewise. But you will also have to factor in the processing time of the USCIS, which is in charge of processing your petition, before you can even get in to see the consular office.

Furthermore, when choosing Consular Processing, you can’t have an attorney represent you or be present with you. In some cases, this could have a negative outcome with your immigration interview or can create confusion when it comes to processing the follow-up documentation that is certain to be requested. Frequent delays are encountered during Consular Processing, and you don’t have the right to appeal a denial, either. The only option after being denied is to refile and reboot the process.

Pros & Cons to Adjustment of Status

One major advantage of using an Adjustment of Status is that once you have applied, you are legally allowed to remain in the U.S. until your application status has been decided on, regardless of whether your initial visa has expired. What’s more, you can be approved for a work permit with a pending application status, and you can come and go from the U.S. using a system that’s called “Advance Parole.”

Another benefit to this option is that you can be represented by a lawyer and have one present during your interview. They will help assure that all your paperwork is properly filled out and that you are as best prepared for the interview as possible. If for some reason you are denied, your application is placed in a revolving pool and you are able to file an appeal. This allows you the ability to represent yourself again and try to get your application approved, instead of having to start all over from the beginning.

Most importantly, using the adjustment of status option helps you avoid Time Bar Penalties, which can prevent you from reapplying for as many as 10 years if your visa has expired and you are no longer lawfully residing in the U.S.

Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC is dedicated to providing high quality, efficient, and prompt services to both companies and individuals in immigration to the United States. Schedule a consultation by calling 866-837-6806 or Contact Us today.