What Are The Different Paths To Obtaining A Family Green Card? Which Path Is Right For Our Family?
In the family green card process, there are two paths by which an individual can obtain a green card. They can do consulate processing or adjustment of status. There are advantages and disadvantages to either process. Consulate processing is generally for individuals whose relatives are outside of the United States and who are trying to come into the US.
Adjustment of status is for relatives seeking green cards that are already in the United States. In order to be eligible for the adjustment of status, the relative seeking a green card must have entered the US legally. If they came to the US on some type of visa, that is considered a legal entry, so they can do an adjustment of status. But, if they came to the US illegally, even though they’re in the United States, they would have to do the consulate processing approach in order to get their green card. They’ll have to go back to their country and do the interview abroad in their home country.
As mentioned, there are some advantages and disadvantages. With adjustment of status, the interview is in the United States. When the interview is scheduled at USCIS, you can have an attorney present with you at the interview. If there are any issues in the application, be it the request for additional evidence or an intent from the officer denying your adjustment of status case, your attorney can directly get in touch with the USCIS and sort out that matter.
However, if you’re doing consular processing, which is at the US consulate in your relative’s home country, then unfortunately, when you are scheduled for an interview, an attorney is not permitted in the interview room with the beneficiary. That’s a disadvantage. If there is any kind of denial, an intent to deny, or they are requesting additional documentation, you’re handling it over the National Visa Center’s website. If there is a denial, a lot of the times, it’s very hard to appeal a denial from a US Consular officer. Usually, there has to be some type of erroneous or egregious error on the part of the consular officer in order for you to even have a chance to appeal an application that has been denied.
What Can We Do If Our Family-Based Green Card Application Was Denied?
When there is a denial in your petition, you will receive a letter from the USCIS if you’re doing an adjustment of status, or from the US Consulate if you’re doing consular processing. It’s important to review the notice to find out the reason why your case was denied in the first place. There are several reasons why it could be denied. One reason could be that you haven’t met all of the eligibility requirements to proceed with the green card. In that case, you can’t really appeal that matter because it’s a matter of waiting until you meet all of those eligibility requirements. If you are denied because you’ve been determined to be inadmissible, then you have to determine if there is a waiver you are eligible for.
If it’s a situation in which there is a chance to fix the issue of the denial, the officer will indicate that in the notice. For example, if it’s denied because you need a waiver, the officer will identify in the letter what waiver it is that you need and the steps you need to take in order to apply for that waiver. If you get denied because of a criminal history, then you’ll need to consult with an immigration attorney on how to best handle that circumstance. You may be able to request the waiver for some types of criminal offenses. However, other types of criminal offenses won’t permit you to be eligible for the waiver. The bottom-line is that it’s important to review that notice when you get a denial and identify the reason why the application was denied. That will determine which steps are appropriate to take.
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