There are two ways to obtain a residency:
The first way is called adjustment of status. This procedure is done inside the United States having an interview at the USCIS immigration office. This procedure is prepared in one package that must contain all the immigration forms, relevant evidence to meet the equirements, pictures, medical exam, and the immigration fees.
The package has to be sent to a P.O. Box in Chicago, Illinois. It is recommended to use certified mail with return receipt service. I also recommend to make copies of all your package before you mail it to immigration.
Three weeks after sending the package, USCIS will send a notice that the package was received. Six weeks later, you will have to go to the biometrics appointment and in approximately 4 months you will get a work permit. This permit will allow you to travel in the United States but not to go outside. Lastly, you will receive a notice for the interview for residency.
Presently, it takes about 8 to 12 months for USCIS to make a decision in a case considering that the waiting times may vary from case to case.
The second way to obtain a residency is known as a Consular Processing where the applicant (foreigner) goes to an interview at the Embassy or a U. S. Consulate in their home country.
This process is done by stages:
- It begins by filing an I-130 application. USCIS will review the application and it will be approved in approximately 12 months.
- Once the application is approved, USCIS transfers the file to the National Visas Center (NVC). This is the office that reviews all the residencies processed outside the United States.
- After this, NVC sends an email with the corresponding bills for the payment of the process. These bills are paid electronically. Remember that you must print the receipts as proof of the payment.
- Once the payment is made, you will have to send two packages:
- The first package will have an affidavit of support or sponsorship.
- The second package will contain all the civil documents. The residency application (DS-260) is done online.
- Months later, the applicant will have the interview at the U.S. Consulate (very commonly in Ciudad Juarez). Before the interview for residency, you will have to book an appointment for the biometrics which are taken at the Attention Service Center located next to the Consulate. After that, the medical exam has to be conducted at one of the approved medical clinics. At the end, the applicant will have to attend to an interview where a consular officer will decide if the residency is approved or not.
Attorney Rodriguez recommends you to do the process from the United States since there are more benefits by doing it inside the U.S. than through Mexico. It takes around 8 to 12 months to finish it, you can get a work permit, an attorney can represent you during the interview and in case of a denial, there is an appeal right or you have the option of fighting it in immigration court.
On the other hand, the consular process takes longer approximately two years to finish it, everything is done in stages, cannot apply for a working permit, attorneys are not allowed to go in to the interview, and in case of a denial there is no appeal available.
Attorney Rodriguez invites you to book an appointment to give you more information and a personalized assessment helping you to take a well-informed decision.