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Consular Processing vs. Adjustment of Status

Immigration Lawyer in North Carolina

Consular processing is often confused with the adjustment of status process. The two are in fact similar, except that consular processing occurs for immigrants who are outside of the United States while adjustment of status occurs for immigrants who are resident in the U.S. When a foreign national's visa application is accepted and they are granted a visa number, they may then visit their local U.S. Department of State consulate to finish the immigration process and enter the United States as a lawful permanent resident (LPR) with a green card.

Understanding the Process

The first step to consular processing is to have a U.S. employer or a family member who is a U.S. citizen file an immigrant petition on your behalf. Whether your petition is employment-based or family-based, it must be granted before the process can continue. Once your petition is approved, you must wait for a visa number to become available. After such a number becomes available, you must submit certain documentation and fees to the National Visa Center and schedule an interview with the consular office. They will then make the final determination regarding your eligibility for an immigrant visa.

If you are granted an immigrant visa, the consular officer will give you a Visa Packet of information, which should not be opened. Instead, you will submit this packet to the Customs and Border Protection officer at the port of entry when you come to the United States. After passing inspection by said officer, you will be granted entry as a permanent lawful permanent resident of the United States.

Waivers of Grounds of Inadmissibility

In the event that your visa interview ended in denial, you may be able to file a Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.

The waiver must be based on one or more of the following grounds of inadmissibility:

  • Health-related grounds
  • Certain criminal grounds
  • Immigrant membership in Totalitarian Party
  • Immigration fraud or misrepresentation
  • Smugglers
  • The three-year or ten-year bar

These are only some of the grounds of inadmissibility that could be waived with a Form I-601. Speak with a North Carolina immigration attorney to discuss whether your denial could be contested in this way.

Our Firm Can Help

For more than four decades, our firm has assisted immigrants in obtaining non-immigrant statuses and lawful permanent residency. We have a thorough understanding of consular processing and could assist you every step of the way. Our founding attorney, Robert Brown, spent many years as the INS district director in Cleveland, Ohio, and two of our lawyers were selected for inclusion in the Super Lawyers®Rising Stars℠.

Do not hesitate to contact an immigration lawyer from our firm immediately if you need qualified advice and representation.

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