If you want to become a lawful permanent resident in the United States and obtain a green card, there are multiple ways to do so. However, two of the most common forms of becoming a lawful permanent resident are through consular processing and adjustment of status. If you aren’t sure which process you need to take, our Miami immigration attorneys break it down for you below.
What Is Consular Processing?
Consular processing is the traditional method of obtaining a green card. Individuals who are currently in their country of origin can seek a green card by submitting an application with the U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country. To start the process, your U.S. family or employer sponsor must file an immigrant petition (USCIS Form I-130 or I-140) on your behalf. Once you obtain a visa number, you can submit a green card application and attend the interview at the consulate.
What Is Adjustment of Status?
Adjustment of status is another method to obtain a green card for applicants who already live in the United States. For example, if you currently are in the United States with an employment visa, you can apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident. You must submit your application through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Consulate Processing vs. Adjustment of Status
The major difference between the consulate and the adjustment of status is where the application process takes place. Only those who are currently in the United States can apply for an adjustment of status. Adjustment of status was created to make it easy on those who want to become lawful permanent residents by not requiring them to travel back to their country of origin.
Those who are in their country of residence must obtain a green card through the consular process. Although the consulate process can leave applicants impatient, there are cases when consulate processing may be faster than the USCIS.
Adjustment of Status: What Happens If My Visa Will Expire Soon?
If your visa expires soon, you can still remain in the United States after applying for adjustment of status. You can remain in the U.S. until your adjustment of status is either approved or denied – regardless of whether your visa has expired. You can also get a work permit while your application is pending.
Should I Have an Attorney Review My Application?
The adjustment of status and the consular process can be complicated. Thankfully, you can have an experienced attorney review your paperwork to ensure that you submit every document accordingly. Although an attorney can’t answer questions for you, they can guide you through the process to help you understand what’s expected in the application.
Miami Immigration Attorneys
Our Miami immigration lawyers have successfully handled thousands of immigration cases because our mission has always been, "To Keep People in the United States." If you need help with any immigration case, our team of attorneys has the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to help you achieve your desired outcome. Our immigration law firm is known for handling even the toughest immigration cases, and that's why other immigration attorneys send their most challenging cases to us. If you want to become a lawful permanent resident but you’re not sure which path you should take, our team is here to guide you through the process.