Adjustment of Status (I-485) or Consular Processing, What Should I Choose?

Adjustment of Status (I-485) or Consular Processing, What Should I Choose? - Lawfully

Depending on where the Green Card applicant resides at the time of the application, one of the procedures between Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing may be a better fit. Let’s review the detailed regulations for each process and find out whether Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing is for your case.


I. When should one choose Adjustment of Status using I-485?

When you apply for a marriage Green Card, if the spouse seeking the Green Cards is living within the United States, you can choose Adjustment of Status. This process allows the applicant to apply while within the U.S. and does not require the applicant to return to their home country to complete their marriage Green Card processing.


II. What documents are needed to apply for Adjustment of Status?

Typically, Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) and Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) will need to be filed. Most applications will require an immigrant petition such as the Form I-130 filed before the applicant can file the Form I-485. However, in certain situations, an applicant may file both the Form I-485 along with the Form I-130. When an applicant files both Form I-485 along with the Form I-130, this is called concurrent filing.


III. What is Concurrent Filing?

Concurrent filing is the I-130 immigrant visa petition filed together with the Form I-485 (I-130 and I-485 current filing). For the applicants who are eligible for concurrent filing, their applications are considered to be concurrent filing even if the Form I-485 is filed after the immigrant visa petition, but before the approval of the immigrant visa petition.

When a marriage Green Card is filed for a spouse living within the United States, we suggest that concurrent filing be used through the adjustment of status process.


IV. What is Consular Processing?

When you apply for a marriage Green Card, if the spouse seeking the Green Cards is living abroad (outside the U.S.), you should choose consular processing. Once you receive an approved immigrant petition (Form I-130), you may now apply at U.S. Department of State(DoS) consulates overseas for an immigrant visa(marriage Green Card) allowing travel to the United States to be admitted as a permanent resident.

V. When should one choose Consular Processing?

When a marriage Green Card is filed for a spouse living outside of the United States, we suggest that consular processing be used. Other cases where consular processing may be used is when it becomes difficult for the applicant spouse to maintain a valid visa for 2.5 years after filing the Form I-130.


VI. How long does it take to get a marriage Green Card?

There are circumstances and situations that will determine the length of time to obtain marriage Green Cards. Some of the factors and estimates are as follows:

  1. Whether the sponsoring spouse is a U.S. citizen or a U.S. Green Card holder.

  2. Whether the applicant spouse is living within the United States, or living outside of the United States.

  3. The availability of a Field Office or Service Center near you. Different Field Office or Service Centers have varied processing times.

In order to know estimated processing time of Green Card applications, Lawfully USCIS Case Tracker provides personalized prediction for that based on the AI machine learning algorithm. Download and try Lawfully USCIS Case Tracker app to get real-time USCIS updates and information on the expected decision date.

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