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.
Who Qualifies for an Adjustment in Green Card 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:
- Employment – Nonimmigrants might be eligible for employment-based. Also, visas are based on their own abilities, skills, and accomplishments or through sponsorship through a U.S. employer.
- Family – Nonimmigrant visa holders can likewise qualify for family-based. Visas as the child, spouse, parent, or eligible close relative of a permanent resident or U.S. citizen.
- Others –Humanitarian reasons could be a factor to grant a green card. Asylum, via the diversity lottery program, or through other categories.
why an application might be denied?
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:
- You gained entry to the country illegally, such as through fraudulent means or misrepresentation, etc.
- You breached the terms of your temporary visa by committing a criminal offense
- You’re currently living in the country illegally
- You worked in the country without employment authorization
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.
What About Consular Processing?
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.
What is consular processing for green cards?
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:
- A determination whether you are, in fact, eligible to apply for an immigrant visa
- If you are eligible, you will be invited for an interview
- Your green card application will then either be approved or denied
- If approved, you will be given a “Visa Packet,” which you should not open but present to the US Immigration and Customs (ICE) officer at your point of arrival in the United States
How long does consular processing take?
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.
Can I change from consular processing to adjustment of status?
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.
Can I stay in-country with consular processing?
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.
How long after consular processing will I get my green card?
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.
Get Legal Advice from a Skilled Austin Green Card Lawyer Today
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.