Consular Processing Vs. Adjustment of Status
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Our immigration firm in New Jersey has helped over 10,000 individuals and businesses secure visas, green cards, citizenship since 1987. We have the tools, knowledge, and experience to give you the best possible chance of earning permanent residency in the United States. Our staff promises to keep you educated and informed about every step of the process, addressing your questions as quickly as they appear. Most importantly, we promise to offer you the insight and advice that gives your application the best possible chance of succeeding.
Call (800) 909-8129 if you're going through consular processing or adjustment of status. Contact The Law Offices of Lloyd E. Bennett, Esq., P.C. for a consultation with a New Jersey immigration lawyer. Se habla Español.
What Are My Options for Becoming a Permanent Resident in the U.S.?
In all cases in which an individual is eligible to obtain a green card, one must decide whether to request an adjustment of status (AOS) or consular processing (CP). The choice involves a careful review of the individual’s immigration history, as not everyone is eligible for the adjustment of status or consular processing.
What is the Adjustment of Status?
Adjustment of Status (AOS) is a process of obtaining permanent resident status in the U.S. without having to leave the U.S. This is different from changing status from one nonimmigrant status to another. AOS is generally unavailable to many (but not all) who entered the U.S. without inspection by an immigration officer, or those who violated status by overstaying a visa or for those on whose behalf an application for Labor Certification or Family Preference petition was not filed before April 30, 2001. Adjustment of Status may take several years to process.
Adjustment of status might be preferred to consular processing because:
- It avoids the expense and inconvenience of travel to the home country
- AOS applicants, including dependent family members, are entitled to employment authorization and permission to travel while the AOS application is pending
- Employment-based AOS applicants receive job mobility (i.e., “portability”) benefits
- There are more options for reconsideration of an unfavorable decision by USCIS than by a consulate abroad whose denials are unreviewable
What is Consular Processing?
Consular Processing (CP) is a process of applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Consular post outside the U.S. for intended immigrants who are not in the U.S. or who are otherwise ineligible for adjustment of status. It has a shorter processing time of 4 - 6 months.
Can I Adjust my Status from Within the U.S.?
Not everyone is eligible for AOS—even if there is an immediate family member (United States citizen spouse or child over 21) who wants to petition for them due to an issue with the individual's entry or immigration status in the U.S. Some individuals have no choice but to CP. An individual living abroad cannot enter the U.S. prior to the completion of her/his green card case and must use CP to obtain the immigrant visa from the U.S. consulate abroad. Some individuals who have not maintained status or entered without inspection may only be eligible for CP.
What Is an Unlawful Presence Waiver & Am I Eligible?
Some who are eligible for CP may face the three (3) and ten (10) year bars to re-entry if they leave the U.S. and attempt to reenter the U.S., as they would be deemed inadmissible. However, certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens may apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver, also known as a stateside waiver, before they leave the U.S. It is also known as an I-601A waiver. If approved these individuals may return to their home county to CP with the assurance that they will not be subject to the bar. Others who have left the US and are attempting to reenter may be deemed inadmissible and may also apply for an unlawful presence waiver.
Get Assistance from New Jersey Immigration Attorneys on Your Case
Only an experienced immigration lawyer can offer you legal advice regarding your green card application. If you have questions regarding what you need to do, what you're eligible for, and the most likely path to success for your green card, speak with the Law Offices of Lloyd E. Bennett, Esq., P.C. today. We provide initial consultations that answer all your questions regarding the green card application process. We review your personal records, immigration history, and family history to determine all your options for permanent residency—and we put your green card application on the fastest and most effective path to success.
Call (800) 909-8129 or contact us online for your first appointment. Let's get started on your case immediately.
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Q:I am a fiancée of a us citizen living outside the us. How can I enter the us to marry?
A:Your fiancée must apply for a Fiancée Visa also known as the K-1 Visa. The visa is for parties who have physically met within the past two years, have an intent to marry and can document a relationship together. The visa is only for those who are residing abroad and cannot be used if the alien is in the US. The application is filed from within the US and when approved, will be forwarded to the American Consular where the alien fiancée will apply for the visa and be interviewed by an officer. Usually about 8-12 months from the date of filing.
Q:I live in the us and I am marrying a us citizen. How can I get a green card and become a permanent resident?
A:Assuming you have entered the US with a visa or are protected by an old law called 245i you may be eligible to adjust status to receive a green card from within the US. If you have been illegally present for more than 6 months you cannot travel until the green card is in hand. Current processing time is about 5-7 months.
Q:I live outside the us and I married a us citizen. How can I come to the us to live?
A:To enter the US after a marriage to a US Citizen you would go through Consular Processing. Paperwork would be filed in the US and forwarded to the embassy abroad to schedule and interview. The processing time frame from start to finish is between 9-11 months depending on the embassy abroad.