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Immigration Options: Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing in Texas

 Posted on February 23, 2024 in Immigration

Blog ImageImmigrating to the United States can be a complex, intimidating process. Understanding the laws that will apply to a particular immigrant and the family member or employer who is sponsoring them for immigration can be difficult. The steps that will need to be followed will be different depending on where the immigrant is currently located and other factors that may affect their case.

There are two primary routes for immigrants who are seeking an immigrant visa and Green Card: adjustment of status and consular processing. Understanding the distinctions between these options is crucial, and it can ensure that a person can make informed decisions about their immigration journey. An experienced attorney can provide invaluable guidance for immigrants, helping them navigate these procedures correctly.

Adjustment of Status

Adjustment of status is the process that may be followed by an immigrant who is already living in the United States. It will allow them to apply for lawful permanent residency as they continue living in the country during the processing of their visa application. This option is particularly suitable for those who are already on a temporary visa in the U.S.

  • Eligibility: A person must be physically present in the U.S., and they must meet specific criteria for an immigrant visa based on sponsorship from a family member, employment, or other qualifying categories. In general, a visa in the appropriate category must be immediately available before a person’s status can be adjusted.

  • Application process: Applicants will file Form I-485 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They can also apply for work authorization by filing Form I-765, and once approved, they can pursue employment in the United States.

  • Benefits: The primary advantage of adjustment of status is the ability to remain in the U.S. while the application is processed. This can help a person avoid the emotional and financial strain of long-term separation from their family while ensuring that they can maintain employment in the U.S.

Consular Processing

Consular processing involves applying for a visa and Green Card through a U.S. embassy or consulate in a person’s home country or the country where they legally reside. This route is typically pursued by immigrants who are outside the U.S. or who are not eligible for an adjustment of status while in the U.S.

  • Eligibility: A person will be able to proceed with consular processing after filing a petition for an immigrant visa. Their eligibility will depend on the visa category and their relationship with the person or employer who is sponsoring them for immigration.

  • Application Process: After the immigrant petition is approved by USCIS, the National Visa Center (NVC) will collect the appropriate documentation and process the application. Following NVC approval, an immigrant will attend an interview at the U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country. If a visa is granted following this interview, the immigrant will be able to enter the United States and receive a Green Card.

  • Benefits: For some immigrants, consular processing can be faster than applying for an adjustment of status. It is also the required path for those who cannot adjust their status due to their current visa status or other reasons.

Choosing the Right Path

Deciding between adjustment of status and consular processing depends on various factors, including an immigrant's current location, their immigration status, and their relationships with family members or other sponsors in the United States. Each option has its own set of advantages and limitations. When weighing the options, it is important to consider the following:

  • Current presence in the U.S.: Those who are already in the U.S. on a valid visa may prefer to apply for an adjustment of status to avoid leaving the country.

  • Processing times: The time needed to apply for a visa or Green Card, submit documents to the appropriate agencies, and attend interviews can vary depending on the option chosen and the circumstances of a case. Understanding how long the process may take can help a person determine whether they may want to remain in the United States and apply for an adjustment of status or return to their home country to complete consular processing.

  • Legal implications: Certain issues, such as criminal convictions or past immigration violations, can affect eligibility for immigration. If there are any reasons why an immigrant may be inadmissible to the United States, it will be important to understand whether waivers of inadmissibility will be available.

Contact Our Plano Green Card Application Lawyer

If you are planning to apply for a Green Card or sponsor a person for immigration, the team at Law Office of Jae Lee is here to assist you. Our experienced Dallas immigration attorney can provide the guidance and support you need as you pursue your path to lawful permanent residency. Contact us at 214-295-3014 to schedule a free consultation and explore your immigration options.

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