Nonimmigrant visa holders usually plan on transitioning to permanent U.S. resident status. Being a permanent resident or having a green card status provides cardholders with many benefits not afforded to nonimmigrants. This includes being able to travel and work in the U.S. with just a few restrictions. The transition to a permanent resident status from a nonimmigrant status is known as the adjustment of status.
For nonimmigrants to qualify for a green card, they must adjust their status to immigrant from nonimmigrant. Take note that this is different from a change of status that entails switching to another type of nonimmigrant visa.
Only nonimmigrant or temporary visa holders could qualify for adjustment of status. They must also have entered the country legally and currently live in the U.S. when they file their applications. In addition, they must qualify for permanent resident status (green card) in one of these categories:
Do note, however, that some applicants mistakenly expect that approval of their green card application means that their application for adjustment of status would also be approved. But this isn’t always the case because there are various reasons why an application might be denied, such as:
Fortunately, depending on the specific circumstances of your denial, you may have a chance to reapply again. Most applicants in this situation choose to work with a skilled Austin green card lawyer. This way, they determine their application rejection and ensure the success of their next application.
Some individuals may opt to obtain a green card without adjusting their status by going back to their home country. Once their temporary visa expires, they go through consular processing. In most cases, these individuals are from nearby countries, which means that going home and using consular processing. Then, they apply for a green card, this process is more cost-effective than filing for adjustment of status.
Consular processing is the next step in obtaining an immigrant visa after a petition by an employer or relative is approved to allow the beneficiary (you) to apply for the immigrant visa. It is the next step, but several things happen during this phase of the immigrant visa processing, including the following:
Consular processing times vary, though the process might take anywhere from five to 13 months for many people. The best way to know what type of timeline to expect is to speak with an immigration lawyer who regularly handles consular processing cases.
In some cases, an applicant for a green card may have an option to get their green card either through consular processing or adjustment of status. However, everything considered, it can be beneficial and less risky to go for adjustment of status and not consular processing if you are already in the United States, and you are not required to leave to process your green card application outside the United States. This is something to discuss with your immigration lawyer.
Yes, but this could complicate or delay the processing of your case. Also, depending on where the case has reached in the process, it may be too late to change, especially if consular processing has reached a point where you have been interviewed. In that situation, a decision will have to be made on your application at the consular post.
However, if the petition filed for you indicated consular processing, but you now wish to go through adjustment of status before action on your green card application is taken, you can go ahead and apply for adjustment of status, even though the initial petition filed for you indicated consular processing. In that situation, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will recall your case from the National Visa Center and process your green card application in the US.
Yes. Once you have submitted your green card application that is being processed at a US consular post, you will have to remain in the country where you have applied until your green card is approved.
If your green card is approved, you should receive your green card in the mail within 45 days of your entering the United States. If you do not receive your green card within that time, your lawyer can contact USCIS.
To find out more about the adjustment of the status process and how our skilled Austin green card lawyer can help, contact J. Sparks Law, PLLC, today. You can schedule your consultation by calling 512-952-2176 or contacting us online.
Julie Sparks is Board-certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Immigration and Nationality Law, one of a few such attorneys in Texas. After 15 years of practice in this field, she has represented immigrants from more than 70 countries.
Ms. Sparks is a member of the Texas Bar Association and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Julie has also been a featured speaker at Southwestern Law School and at the national 2015 AILA Fundamentals Conference.