Consular Processing versus Adjustment of Status: Which might be better for me to get a Green Card? A Hard Question!

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When trying to determine which option is “best” in getting a Green Card, it is beneficial to review: how long each would take, cost estimates, which is more likely to be approved and corresponding immigration violations, and being together with your family/spouse.

How long does Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status take?

Consular Processing is very standard/similar around the world. The Interview occurs at the US Embassy or Consulate Immigrant Division abroad after a 2-step filing process. Filings in busier countries, such as Mexico can take 2 to 5 years due to backlog and immigration complications. However, most other countries tend to take 12 to 18 months to get to the interview.

Adjustment of Status can take as little as 4 months and as long as 6 years. The Interviews occur at a USCIS Field Office in the US. The I-485 Processing Times can be seen here: https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/#mainContent

In many cases, Consular Processing can be quicker.

How much does Immigration Cost?

At the Consulate, Immigration Filing fees are around $1200

At USCIS, Immigration Filing fees are around $1700 and $2900. USCIS can also impose an $8100 immigration bond due to financial instability.

Which is more likely to be approved and corresponding immigration violations

If you entered the US improperly, worked illegally, or attempted to US a nonimmigrant visa (such as the tourist visa) to immigrate, Adjustment of Status can be complicated. How and why you came to the US is always reviewed in Adjustment of Status.

Example: If you came to the US on a K-1 Visa for the sole goal of marrying the US Citizen fiancee, the Adjustment of Status is safe.

Bad Example: You used ESTA to enter the US to marry, married in your first week, went on a honeymoon to Jamaica, returned to the US as spouses, and now want to Adjust Status. Complications may arise.

For Consular Processing, if you honor visa laws, don’t commit crimes, a Green Card Visa is likely to be approved at the Embassy or Consulate.

Family Unity

If you live abroad with family or spouse, Consular Processing would keep the family together and all can travel with the visa issued.

If everyone in the US, then Adjustment of Status would keep everyone together. But, as mentioned above, how and why will be assessed by USCIS.

If you are in need of Immigration Assistance, please contact our office to set up a consultation with our Immigration Attorney.

Related Blog Posts:

I’m already here in the US, can I stay here and wait for my green card to get approved?

I AM AN IMMIGRANT, HOW CAN I GET MARRIED IN NORTH CAROLINA?

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