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Consular Processing - Another Primary Path to Green Card of United States

Hi William:

USCIS has approved my Form I-140 - Petition for Alien Worker, but my H-1B visa has close to 6-years limit and the immigration visa number is not available for me at this time. Therefore, I cannot file Form I-485 application inside U.S to get my Green Card. What is my solution? Please help!


There are two primary paths to U.S. permanent resident status (a Green Card). USCIS Form I-485 application of adjustment of status is a process by which an eligible person, who is already in the United States, can apply for U.S. permanent resident status without having to return to his/her home country to complete the processing of Green Card application.

Another primary path to U.S. permanent resident status is called "Consular Processing." An foreign person who is the beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition, such as Form I-140 approval or Form I-130 approval,  and has an immigrant visa number immediately available may apply at a U.S. Department of State (DOS) consulate abroad for an immigrant visa, to come to U.S. and be admitted as a permanent resident. Thus, this pathway is referred to as “consular processing.”

The first step in consular processing is to determine if you fit into a specific U.S. immigrant category. Many immigrants become eligible for a U.S. Green Card through a petition filed by a family member (
Form I-130 approval) or U.S. employer ( Form I-140 approval). The employment based immigration categories require the U.S. employer to file a Form I-140 - Petition for Alien Worker. The family based categories require that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative file a Form I-130 - Petition for Alien Relative.

If the immigration petition is approved (
Form I-140 approval or Form I-130 approval) and if you are the beneficiary of the petition and living outside the U.S., USCIS can send the approved petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) for consular processing, where it will remain until an immigrant visa number is available.

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