For those who wish to gain permanent residency status, there are basically two paths that can be utilized to achieve this goal. One way is to apply for an adjustment of status. The other is to use consular processing. Prospective immigrants, who wish to enter California or other areas of the country, may achieve permanent residency status through consular processing — if they meet certain eligibility requirements and if the appropriate steps are followed.

Before an immigrant applies for consular processing, it will be important to determine if this path to permanent residency status is actually a good fit for his or her current situation. Consular processing applications are typically filed in a U.S. Department of State consulate located within the immigrant’s home country. Those who already have an immigrant visa number, or are the beneficiaries of an approved immigration petition, can apply for permanent residency status this way before even coming to the United States.

The steps of consular processing include filing a formal petition, waiting for a decision, receiving an immigration visa packet and receiving a green card shortly after entering the country. Sounds simple enough, but, as with all immigration procedures, it is not as simple as it appears to be. Basis for immigration must be shown and approved, and a number of other potential issues could result in a petition being denied.

Prospective immigrants and current immigrants in California can seek legal assistance to help in obtaining permanent residency status. As seeking an adjustment of status or utilizing consular processing each carries its own set of potential issues, an experienced immigration attorney can prove to be a valuable commodity. With assistance, it is possible to ensure that all petitions for permanent residency status are filed properly and without error, which can help move the process along. Legal guidance is also available should a petition for consular processing or adjustment of status be denied.

Source: uscis.gov, “Consular Processing“, Dec. 15, 2014