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I-526 Approval to CPR: AOS or consular processing?


Assuming I-526 petition has been approved, Investor and dependent family members need to take either "consular processing" at the American Embassy located in the country of residence, or file I-485 adjustment application for conditional green cards. The choice depends on several factors, and the more one thinks about the pros and cons of each type of procedure, the more complex it becomes.

Consular Processing

Consular processing is the procedure that Investor and dependents must go through if they wish to obtain immigrant visas (IV) at the American Embassy located in the country of their residence. It involves paying IV Fees and sending Immigrant Visa Applications and supporting documents to the National Visa Center (NVC), a division of Department of State; and then after NVC sets an IV interview date at the applicable American Embassy, do physical exams and show up for IV interview to obtain IVs, so you and your family members can use the validly-issued IVs to make entry into the United States as intending immigrants and then acquire Conditional Permanent Resident (CPR) status on the date of entry. IV is like having a movie ticket: It will pretty much guarantee that you will be able to enter a movie theater unless they find that you are carrying a gun or something or you are on drugs, etc.

Contrary to common belief, the consular processing can also be pursued even while the Investor and dependents are lawfully staying in the United States. This is because the Investor and dependents usually need not be absent for too long (at most 10 days) from the United States to complete the IV interview processing stage, while all other steps of the consular processing can be conducted without having to leave your home in the U.S.

I-485 Adjustment Application for Conditional Green Cards

I-485 adjustment processing is the procedure Investor and dependents have to resort when there is a very good reason why the consular processing is not the first option. The drawback to I-485 processing, even if the Investor and dependents are staying in the U.S. in some another NIV status, is that the I-485 can take a lot longer than the consular processing which can be completed in less than 6 months in most instances. It is not unusual for I-485 to take 1 ~ 1.5 years or even more. That just delays the acquisition of CPR status, and that is not good, because the acquisition of LPR depends on first obtaining CPR status. Therefore, the sooner CPR status is obtained, the earlier LPR status can be obtained.