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Employment Immigration

Consular Processing

Immigrant Visa Processing


Permanent residence ("green card") status is conferred either through issuance of an immigrant visa by a U.S. consulate abroad or through approval of an adjustment of status application (see "adjustment of status") filed in the United States with USCIS.  For those present in the United States who have both alternatives available to them, adjustment is generally the preferred method since the applicant whose case is denied can challenge the denial through the administrative and/or judicial appellate processes and the applicant is not required to leave U.S.

In order to be eligible for an immigrant visa, the applicant must establish entitlement under one of the classifications enumerated under the Immigration and Naturalization Act.  To be eligible the applicant must be:


  • The beneficiary of an approved visa petition granting family-based immediate relative or preference classification, or employment-based preference classification.

  • A derivative family member (i.e., spouses and minor unmarried children of preference aliens if they are accompanying or following to join the primary applicant).

  • The foreign national is entitled to special immigrant status under INA §101(a)(27); or

  • The foreign national qualifies for a visa under special legislation, such as the Chinese Student Protection Act of 1992, Vietnam Amerasian program, or certain provisions of the Immigration Act of 1990, such as the diversity lottery provisions.



Adjustment of Status

Adjustment of status is the process used by a foreign national who is physically present in the United States to become a lawful permanent resident ("LPR").  Adjustment of status ("AOS") is an alternative to obtaining an immigrant visa through a U.S. consulate abroad, a process known as consular processing.  Depending on the backlog at USCIS service centers, adjustment of status may be preferred by foreign nationals over consular processing because:

  1. It avoids the expense and inconvenience of travel back to the home country,

  2. AOS applicants, including immediate family members, are entitled to employment authorization and permission to travel while the AOS application is pending,

  3. Employment-based AOS applicants receive job mobility benefits provided under recent legislation, and

  4. There are more options for reconsideration of an unfavorable decision by USCIS.

      Requirements under Regular Adjustment Procedures [INA §245]:

The AOS applicant must:

  1. Have been inspected and admitted or paroled (some limited exceptions apply);

  2. Be lawfully here, except for immediate relatives, battered spouses and children, and special immigrants under INA §101(a)(27)(H);

  3. Have an immediately available visa number at time of filing;

  4. Submit adjustment of status application;

  5. Be eligible to adjust and otherwise admissible.


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