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What you need to know about consular processing

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2023 | Immigration

Consular processing may seem intimidating, but if you learn about the process, it’s possible to navigate your way through it successfully. This is the process you have to go through to apply for a green card in the United States when you currently reside outside the U.S. For anyone in Florida with a loved one who hopes to move to the United States, this information may be helpful to you.

Consular processing versus adjustment of status

The steps you have to go through to apply for a green card when you are already in the U.S. is different than if you still live in your country of origin. When the latter is the case, consular processing is the way you can get your green card status.

This may also be referred to as a CR-1 or IR-1 visa. All this means is that this process will be taken care of as your local U.S. consulate or embassy.

Consular processing is not to be confused with AOS or adjustment of status. This is what happens when someone applies for a green card and they already live in the U.S. If you go through consular processing, it’s required that you stay in your own country until you get your approval for a U.S. green card.

Are there any exceptions to the rule?

In rare cases, a green card applicant may enter the U.S. and file an adjustment of status application from there. But it’s not common that a U.S. visa will give you the option to do this, so there is no established immigration process to go through to take this route.

While AOS and consular processing differ in many ways, one thing they have in common is their requirements for eligibility. If you are successful, you can become a U.S. citizen after having your green card for five years.