Adjusting Status in the US or Consular Processing Abroad
Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing are legal names for either applying for and obtaining residency in the US (adjustment of status), or process the application at a consulate abroad (consular processing). Whether or not an individual may adjust status inside the US , or has to consular process abroad depends on several factors.
Such factors include how the individual was last admitted into the US, (by way of visa, visa waiver, or parole, or in a car in plain sight without any immigration document), the type of visa last admitted into the US, the applicant’s immigration record, or whether he or she is a beneficiary or derivative beneficiary of a Form I-130, Form I-140 or Labor Certification approved prior to April 30, 2001. If prior to April 30, 2001, Section 245(i) of the INA permits the applicant to pay a $1,000.00 penalty fee in addition to other government fees to adjust status in the US. The benefits of Section 245(i) are far reaching, and Ms. Cardenas will advise you on your eligibility to adjust status in the US under Section 245(i).
US immigration law was designed to encourage family reunification. “Immediate relatives” of US citizens are exempt from quotas and can generally process their applications quicker than others, but obtaining lawful residency takes time and patience as wait times vary depending on many factors that are outside the control of you and your attorney. Unlike employment based applications, there is no ability to pay for an expedited application process.
A child is defined in the INA as unmarried and under 21 years old. Petitioners may also be eligible to apply for their stepchild or stepparent if the marry between the parents occurred prior to the child’s 18th birthday. Legal adoption is not required.
Immediate relatives include spouses and unmarried minor children (under 21 years old) of US citizens, and parents of US citizens who are over 21 years of age. Immediate relatives often times believe that the approval of an I-130 Petition means that the visa will be issued, but this is not the case, as additional documents and processes are required.
Spouses of US citizens are granted a two-year conditional green card, unless the marriage has been in existence for at least two years at the time the applicant is admitted as a resident. Conditional permanent residents must apply to remove the conditional nature of the green card during the 90-day window prior to the expiration of the conditional green card.
There are also five family-sponsored categories that are subject to numerical limits, which often create long waiting lines. Visa wait times change each month and are posted on the Visa Bulletin on the 15th of the preceding month, and can be accessed at https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law…/bulletin.html
Ms. Cardenas is well versed in the Child Status Protection Act which may greatly affect the visa category that an individual will be determined to be in, and can make visa wait times much shorter than it appears. The concept of Cross-Chargeability can also make the visa wait time shorter. She will analyze your individual circumstances to determine whether your visa is available and if you are eligible to adjust status or have to process at a consulate or embassy abroad.