When an individual is looking to become a permanent resident of the United States, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides two primary avenues: Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing. Both of these avenues have pros and cons, but green card applicants may only apply through one. Consular processing is the route taken by foreign individuals who are not physically in the U.S. but are seeking a green card (versus Adjustment of Status, in which a person is currently living in the U.S.).

The process begins once an immigrant petition has been approved on the individual’s behalf and visa numbers are available in the immigrant’s country of origin. If the petitioner is an immediate relative (spouse, parent of child under 21, or child under 21), there does not need to be a visa number available and the alien can immediately apply for residency status.

This petition can be filed by a qualifying family member or employer. Once approved, you will have a few more forms to fill out and then the National Visa Center will transfer your file to the appropriate consulate. If outside the United States, an individual’s interview will be conducted at this consulate or at a U.S. embassy. In addition to an interview, the applicant will also have to undergo a medical examination.

There are several different situations in which consular processing might be sought, but as stated above, it isn’t an option available to everyone. However, one of the main advantages to this route is the speed at which it allows an individual to acquire a green card. In cases where a person can choose between either consular processing or adjustment of status, he or she may be able to get their green card faster with consular processing. After a person’s consular processing application has been approved, he or she can enter the U.S. as a permanent resident.

Legal Guidance for Consular Processing

Of course, what we’ve described above is a simplified outline of a more complex process. If you have questions on consular processing or are wondering if you or a family member qualify, don’t hesitate to contact the San Antonio immigration lawyers at Salmon-Haas. We can help you with all the necessary paperwork and keep you informed on each step along the way. The guidelines and requirements involved are rather intricate, and if a problem arises there’s a risk that the individual involved may be denied entry to the U.S. This is why many people find it beneficial to consult with an immigration attorney before beginning the process. We have years of experience in the field and can assist clients in understanding the procedures involved in their case. Call Salmon-Haas today to get started.

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