Consular Processing vs. Adjustment of Status

For the beneficiaries of approved immigration petitions, two options are available for taking the final step in obtaining a green card: consular processing or applying for an adjustment of status (AOS).

AOS is an option for aliens residing in the U.S. under some other status that does not precluding having immigrant intent. Prospective immigrants living abroad must undergo consular processing. If aliens outside the U.S. think they can bypass this by entering the country on, say, a visitor visa and then applying for an AOS, they should be warned: various nonimmigrant visas expressly preclude aliens from adjusting status while in the U.S., and doing so could render them ineligible for a green card or for any other visa. Aliens residing in the U.S. can alternatively choose to return to their home country or last country of residence to initiate consular processing.

In the table below, we showcase the major differences between the two side by side in the hopes that understanding what each entails will help aliens in their decision making.

*i.e. from the date a visa number becomes available
**These are the most noteworthy components; the lists are not exhaustive.

Our Firm is Here to Help

Applying for an immigrant visa through consular processing can be a complex process for most to handle on their own. This is why we recommend you seek the advice of an experienced immigration attorney about your situation. At Zhang & Associates, our attorneys have decades of experience successfully facilitating consular processing for our foreign-based clients. One of our associates, Sechyi Laiu, spent several years as a consular officer at multiple U.S. diplomatic posts worldwide. Click here to contact our firm for a free consultation today.

For official news and updates on consular processing, click here.

For more detailed information on consular processing, refer to the following links:

Updated 07/31/2017