Atlanta, GA – If you’re a foreign national currently living in Atlanta, you may be considering making Georgia your permanent home. Most people in such a situation would have to go through family-based immigration and have a close relative sponsor them for a Green Card.
However, some immigrants who are lawfully present in the United States can choose between Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing.
Here’s all you need to know about the difference between the two legal processes.
Consular Processing is faster
If you use Adjustment of Status to get a Green Card, your application will go to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If you use Consular Processing, your application will be processed by the U.S. Department of State.
Generally speaking, if you have the option, you may want to choose Consular Processing as the waiting times are shorter. All in all the process should take between 5 and 12 months. As for Adjustment of Status, the process may take years. If you go online, you may find that obtaining a Green Card through Adjustment of Status takes 8-14 months on average. It’s not much of a difference, you’d say, but what you need to keep in mind is that the USCIS has a huge backlog of cases at present, which means your application may take several years instead of the 8 months promised.
Consular Processing has lower denial rates, but the decision is final
Unlike USCIS officials, consular personnel cannot deny an immigration visa at their discretion. This means that the application denial rates are lower than USCIS immigration.
On the downside, you cannot appeal a decision made by a consular officer. If they decide to deny your application, there is no legal way you can challenge that decision. If you apply for Adjustment of Status, you can get an immigration lawyer and appeal a visa denial.
Before choosing an immigration route, it is essential that you talk to an experienced Atlanta immigration lawyer. They will review your case and advise you on whether you should choose Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status.
Adjustment of Status allows you to stay in the US
If you’re already living in Georgia you can remain in the US while your Adjustment of Status application is processed. On the other hand, if you apply for Consular processing you may have to go back to your country of origin, at least for the interview and the mandatory medical exam.
Adjustment of Status makes foreign travel easier
When you apply for a Green Card under Adjustment of Status, you are allowed to also apply for advance parole. This document will allow you to travel outside the US, for a limited number of reasons, and return to US territory without problems. If you choose Consular Processing and then go back to your country, you may have trouble getting back to Georgia. You may be barred from obtaining a temporary visa since you are in the process of obtaining a Green Card and it is obvious you want to remain in the US permanently.
Consular Processing is cheaper
All in all, the cost of obtaining an immigration visa through Consular processing costs around $1,200 spread over time. You may need to add to that the cost of any necessary trips to your country. If you apply for Adjustment of Status, you’ll have to pay all the fees to the USCIS upfront, for a total of $1,750.
If you are planning to apply for a Green Card, schedule an appointment with a trustworthy lawyer at Kuck | Baxter Immigration LLC in Atlanta or their South Georgia office. They will advise you on the best strategy for your particular situation and help you with the paperwork.
Kuck | Baxter Immigration LLC
365 Northridge Road
Atlanta, GA 30350
Tel : (404) 816-8611
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