Adjustment of Status vs. Consular Processing of Immigrant Visa: Important Points to Consider

When someone applies to receive a Green Card, they have the option to have their immigration interview at a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office in the United States or in their home country. When they interview in the United States, the process is called Adjustment of Status. When they interview in their home country, the process is called Consular Processing.

There are many points to consider when making the decision about where to have your interview. It is more than just an issue of location. At Valvo & Associates, we help people make the best decision for themselves every day. The situation is different depending on your type of visa, your current location, and your home country. Here are some often overlooked points to consider when deciding between Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing:

The first point to consider is the ability to travel outside of the United States. If you choose to interview in the United States through Adjustment of Status, you have to receive a “Combo Card” from the USCIS to be able to travel. This can take up to six months to receive. Some applicants choose to interview in their home country specifically so they can retain their right to travel throughout the application process.

Then there’s the issue of processing time. At the start of 2020, Adjustment of Status took about one year and Consular Processing took about six months. Then the pandemic happened, and Consular Processing stopped from March 2020 until March 2021. Now Consular Processing is hugely backlogged, especially in large countries like China and India. As of October 2021, we would estimate that Adjustment of Status takes about one year and Consular Processing can take up to two years.

A simple but important factor to consider is the ability to appeal the USCIS’s decision. If you interview in the United States through Adjustment of Status and are denied a Green Card, you can appeal the decision in federal court. If you interview overseas through Consular Processing, the initial decision remains the final one.

One current factor should be noted for Green Card applicants who are being sponsored by their employers. The USCIS is currently waiving the need for interviews for about 90% of all employer-sponsored Green Card applicants. The same thing is not happening overseas. This is a major deciding factor at the moment, but the practice may not continue for long.

Ultimately, the decision about where to interview for your Green Card is up to you. At Valvo & Associates, we can help advise on your situation, but we will not choose for you. In the Trump administration, we saw a movement of people going overseas to interview. Now, early in the Biden administration, the trend is flipping back the other way. There is no right or wrong decision – just what you feel is best for you.

Whether you choose to interview through Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing, we can help! For help with any immigration situation, contact Valvo & Associates today! With over eighty-eight years of combined expertise and the ability to represent clients federally in all fifty states, we are your go-to for legal immigration help.

By Brandon Valvo