Green Cards (Common)
National Interest Waivers
Professors & Researchers
Executives & Managers
PERM Labor Certification
Investors (EB-5 visas)
Family (Spouse, etc.)
Work Visas (Common)
O-1 Extraordinary Ability
TN Canadians & Mexicans
J-1 Visa Holders
Nurses & Physical Therapists
Frequently Asked Questions about Consular Processing and Adjustment of Status
The major difference is that adjustment of status is processed while you are in the United States, while Consular Processing is done at a U.S. consulate in your country of last residence or country of birth. Consular Processing is usually quicker than Adjustment of Status.
If you apply for Adjustment of Status, you may apply for the benefits of work and travel authorization (EAD and Advance Parole). This is not available through Consular Processing.
Consular Processing requires police certificates from every country where you have lived for one year or more, an interview and a medical exam. Adjustment of status requires fingerprints and a physical examination by a USCIS-approved physician in the United States. For more information about adjustment of status please see our Adjustment of Status page.
If I am in the United States, may I apply for both Consular Processing and Adjustment of Status at the same time?
No. You must choose between Consular Processing and Adjustment of Status. You may not apply for both at the same time.
If I apply for Consular Processing, can I get an EAD (employment authorization document) and advance parole?
No. With Consular Processing, you do not have the benefits of a work permit and advance parole. These are available through Adjustment of Status.
If I am outside of the United States, may I apply for either Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status?
To be able to apply for Adjustment of Status, you must be in the United States. Therefore, you are not eligible to apply for adjustment of status. You may only apply for consular processing.
I am in the United States in H-1B visa status. After my immigrant petition is approved, may I apply for either consular processing or adjustment of status?
Yes. You may choose to become a permanent resident through either consular processing or adjustment of status. You can not choose both.
My National Interest Waiver petition is approved, but my H-1B will expire in six months. Should I apply for consular processing or adjustment of status?
You may apply for either consular processing or adjustment of status. However, adjustment of status has the benefit of obtaining a work permit (meaning you would not need to renew your H-1B), and does not require you to leave the United States. Adjustment of Status may be a better choice for you. You should consult your immigration attorney to determine the best option in your circumstances.
I live in Texas and have valid nonimmigrant status. My family-based immigrant petition is approved and a visa number is now available. Should I apply for consular processing or adjustment of status?
You could apply for either consular processing or adjustment of status. The processing time for a family-based adjustment of status application in Texas is long. Consular processing may be a better option in your circumstance. You should consult your immigration attorney to determine the best option in your circumstances.