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Adjustment and Consular Processing

Overview

Adjustment of Status is the process through which an eligible individual, already in the United States, may obtain permanent resident status (a green card) without having to return to the home country to complete the visa processing. Otherwise, an individual, who is the beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition, who has a visa number immediately available, who resides abroad, or who does not meet all required qualifications to adjust status in the United States, will be required to apply at the United States Department of State embassy/consulate abroad for immigrant visa processing.

General Adjustment of Status Processing Steps:

  1. Usually based on an approved petition filed by a sponsor, or on some other approved status such as refugee or asylum, etc.
  2. “Concurrent Filing” for some categories.
  3. Applicant is notified to appear at an Application Support Center for biometrics collection, photographed, signature taken and fingerprinted.
  4. Applicant notified of the date, time, and location for an interview at a USCIS office to answer questions under oath or affirmation regarding the application.
  5. After all paperwork has been received, interviews conducted (if necessary), security checks completed, and other eligibility requirements reviewed, applicant is notified of the decision by USCIS.

General Consular Processing Steps:

  1. Usually based on an approved petition filed by a sponsor, or on some other approved category for visa issuance.
  2. USCIS sends the approved petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC), where it will remain until a visa number is available.
  3. When a visa number is available, the NVC will request the required filing fees and supporting documentation.
  4. NVC will notify Applicant of the date, time, and location for an interview at the Consulate/Embassy office to answer questions under oath or affirmation regarding the application.
  5. After all paperwork has been received, interviews conducted (if necessary), security checks completed, and other eligibility requirements reviewed, applicant is notified of the decision by USDOS.
  6. After your visa is granted the Consular office will give you a sealed “Visa Packet” which upon arrival in the United States is to be given to the Customs and Border Protection Officer.
  7. If found admissible Applicant will be able to enter the U.S. as a legal permanent resident and have authorization to work.
  8. Applicant should receive the mailed green card within 30 days of arrival in the United States..

NOTE: The granting of permanent residency is generally recorded as the date that an Applicant became a permanent resident.  Refugees and certain humanitarian parolees (e.g. Cuban, Lautenberg) will have their date of adjustment of status recorded as that of their entry into the United States as a refugee. Asylees, whether the principal filer or his/her derivatives, will have their date of adjustment recorded as one year prior to the date of being granted permanent residence.