Making the decision to move to the United States can be a difficult one. There are many different ways to do it, and two of the most common in California are adjustment of status and consular processing. Understanding each process and how it may apply to your unique situation is essential in determining which is suitable for you.
Adjustment of status
The adjustment of status process permits an individual to file for lawful permanent residence from within the United States. This option is only available if an individual is physically present in the United States and has been inspected by immigration authorities at the time of entry.
The U.S. Citizenships and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires that an individual applying for adjustment of status meet all eligibility requirements, which will vary depending on the type of visa. This includes obtaining a medical exam and providing evidence that the applicant is admissible to the United States.
Consular processing is an immigration option open to individuals who are either living abroad or do not yet qualify for adjustment of status. To apply, an individual must file a visa application with their nearest U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country. The USCIS requires that the individual meet all eligibility requirements before filing and then determines if they are eligible for a visa following the submission of all necessary documents and fees.
The consular process often takes longer than the adjustment of status due to processing times and delays, and the USCIS may require the individual applying for an immigrant visa to attend an in-person interview at the consulate or embassy. The consular officer then evaluates all documents and determines whether the applicant is eligible for a visa.
Ultimately, the decision to apply for adjustment of status or consular processing is up to each individual, based on their unique circumstances. It’s important to consider all the facts, such as the availability of visas, the length of time it takes to process each application, and which one best fits an individual’s specific situation. With a better understanding of both options, you can more easily decide which path best suits your immigration needs.