Adjustment of status and consular processing are two of the ways you can process a green card application. One is not necessarily better than the other. The best option depends on your needs. Read below to find out which is a better fit for you. 

Adjustment of status is the process of changing from a nonimmigrant immigration status to permanent resident status. According to US immigration law, a temporary visitor can become a permanent resident if they lawfully entered the country and meet certain requirements. Consular processing means that a person goes to an embassy or consulate in their homeland to apply for an immigrant visa, which lets them live in the U.S. permanently. 

If you are outside the U.S., you can only go through consular processing on your path to become a lawful permanent resident and get a green card. If you already reside in the U.S., you can go for either. If you want to be a legal permanent resident here in the U.S, we here at Diener Law are at your service. Our immigration attorneys can help you on your path and make sure it is done right the first time. If you need help with your immigration process, feel free to contact an immigration attorney here.

Processing Time

Consular processing takes only several months to process, much faster than Adjustment of Status which can take up to several years. 

Stay and Travel

Permanent ResidencyAdjustment of status is only available for those already lawfully admitted into the U.S. An Adjustment of Status applicant can stay in the U.S., get employment authorization and travel documents until the case is completed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Likewise, an adjustment of the status applicant may travel abroad if they get correct authorization and travel documents. Without proper authorization, it is considered an abandonment of the application process and the applicant may not be allowed re-entry. 

If you were already in the U.S. at the time of application, you can stay until the time of their interview and medical examination at a consular post. If you choose to go for consular processing, you would need to travel to your home country for 7-10 days. If you were outside the U.S. at the time of application, you can still come to the U.S. if you have a valid nonimmigrant visa. Processing outside of the country involves additional time and additional expenses for travel, which could interrupt your work schedule. This departure may not be advisable, depending on your employment, although, some do take this opportunity for a vacation. 

Denial and Appeal

If you apply for Adjustment of Status and get your case denied, you can challenge the denial through various processes. If your visa application is denied at a consular post, it essentially cannot be renewed or appealed. However, consular processing also has a lower risk of refusal because the consular officer is not allowed to deny your application based on discretion, which can happen with adjustment of status.

Switching Between Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing

To switch from adjustment of status to consular processing, an Attorney Certified I-140 procedure can take 2-3 months. You can also file a Form I-84 if you specified Adjustment of Status in your I-130 (Family Based) or I-140 (Employment-Based) in your immigrant petition. Filing this sends your file to the National Visa Center (NVC). Processing times could take up to 1 year to transfer the file. 

To switch from Consular Processing to Adjustment of Status, just fill out an application with the USCIS office. If you’ve already started consular processing, simply inform the consulate and the NVC that you’ve decided to switch. 

This article shows you what the difference between consular processing and adjustment of status is. Get started with the process to get your permanent residence as soon as possible with the help of an excellent immigration lawyer. Find the nearest Diener Law office near you or call (888)361-3349 today and our immigration lawyers will happily assist you.