Obtaining permanent residence status (a green card) in the United States can confer a number of important benefits to individuals. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), there are two main ways through which a person can obtain permanent resident status – consular processing and adjustment of status. While both methods achieve the same result, there are important differences of which potential immigrants should be aware. In addition, both consular processing and adjustment of status can be extremely complicated, so it is highly advisable for anyone seeking permanent resident status through either process to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
Consular processing is used by people overseas who are the beneficiaries of an approved immigrant petition and have an immigrant number immediately available. In order to obtain permanent resident status, they must apply at U.S. consulate abroad for an immigrant visa in order to be admitted into the United States as a permanent resident. The steps associated with consular processing are as follows:
Adjustment of status, on the other hand, permits an individual who is already in the United States to change his or her status from non-immigrant or permanent immigrant status. In order to obtain an adjustment of status, a person must meet all required qualifications for permanent resident status in a given category. The steps involved with obtaining adjustment of status include the following:
Importantly, if you are denied an adjustment of status, your notification will inform you whether you have the right to appeal. In some cases, you may not. If you do have the right to appeal, you must file a notice of appeal within 30 days of the date on which you were served the decision. In some cases, you may be able to file a Motion to Reopen or Reconsider. If any of these appeal options apply to you, you should contact an attorney immediately.
Whether you are seeking permanent resident status through consular processing or through an adjustment of status, the assistance of an attorney can be invaluable. In many cases, retaining an attorney can help make the process go much more quickly and efficiently, and can also help avoid any issues before they even arise. For more than 40 years, the Chicago consular processing and adjustment of status lawyers of Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC have been helping people with legal issues related to United States immigration law. To schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers, call our office today at 312-332-2550.
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