Adjustment Of Status Vs. Consular Processing

At Saenz-Rodriguez & Associates, our attorneys will guide you through the detailed, often arduous process of obtaining lawful permanent residence. We help with adjustment of status (applying within the U.S.) and consular processing (applying outside U.S. borders).

If you or your loved one would like to apply for a green card, call 214-646-1208 or 800-490-7212 to speak with our experienced immigration lawyers.

Lawful Permanent Residence: Adjustment Of Status Vs. Consular Processing

There are two basic ways of achieving lawful permanent residence in the United States, also known as a "green card." One way is to stay in the country to initiate the adjustment of status proceeding. The other is to leave the country and go through consular processing.

  • Adjustment of status is often the preferred method for obtaining lawful permanent resident (LPR) status because you (and your lawyer) retain more control over the proceedings. There is a USCIS office near our law offices in Dallas, Texas, with a rapid adjustment program. In many cases, we are able to help you acquire a green card within 90 days of the submission of your application. Sometimes, because of clearance checks, the wait may be longer.
  • Consular processing takes significantly more time for completion than adjustment of status. At the consulate, we are not dealing with USCIS, but the Department of State. Lawyer access is extremely limited, and there are backlogs that extend the waiting period.

Unlawful Presence Penalties | 3/10-Year Bars Of Entry

Unlawful presence can be a critical issue adding years to the process of applying for lawful permanent resident status. If an applicant is discovered to have been in the U.S. illegally for more than 180 days and then departs, he or she will be banned from re-entry for three years. Unlawful presence lasting more than 365 days warrants a 10-year bar. The only way to lift a 3/10-year bar is to apply for a waiver.

If you enter the U.S. illegally more than once, you will be permanently barred from re-entry and will not be eligible for a waiver.

The Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act

The LIFE Act and subsequent amendments enable certain individuals who would normally be ineligible to apply for an adjustment of status and obtain a green card. In addition, the LIFE Act prevents the deportation of spouses and minor children of any person who is applying for late legalization, and renders them eligible for employment authorization.

If you entered the country in violation of immigration law, worked in the U.S. with proper authorization, or failed to maintain lawful status, you may qualify for LIFE Act benefits. Contact our law offices to see if you are eligible.

Serving All Your Immigration Needs

Every situation is unique, and we advise you to contact our offices directly to discuss your options. We have been helping immigrants achieve lawful permanent resident status for over a decade. Call 214-646-1208 or 800-490-7212 to get started.

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