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 Effortless Immigration: The Magic of Concurrent Filing
January 26, 2024

Effortless Immigration: The Magic of Concurrent Filing

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Concurrent filing in U.S. immigration typically refers to the process of submitting multiple immigration applications or petitions at the same time. This is commonly associated with family-based immigration or employment-based immigration, where different types of applications need to be filed to achieve a specific immigration goal.

For example, in the context of family-based immigration, concurrent filing may involve submitting both the Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) and the Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) simultaneously. The I-130 establishes the qualifying familial relationship, while the I-485 is the application for the immigrant to adjust their status to that of a permanent resident.

In employment-based immigration, concurrent filing might involve submitting the immigrant petition (such as the Form I-140 for employment-based green cards) along with the adjustment of status application (Form I-485) at the same time.

It’s important to note that the ability to file concurrently depends on the specific immigration category and the relationships between the different forms and petitions. It’s advisable to carefully review the current USCIS guidelines and consult with an immigration attorney for guidance on concurrent filing based on your specific situation.

What is the difference between Concurrent Filing and Adjustment of Status?

Concurrent filing and adjustment of status are both processes related to obtaining lawful permanent resident status (green card) in the United States, but they are different in their application and timing:

  • Concurrent Filing:

    • Concurrent filing refers to the ability of certain applicants to file two related immigration forms simultaneously: Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) and Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).

    • This typically applies to individuals who are eligible for a green card based on employment (EB category), and their priority date is current (meaning a visa number is immediately available for them based on the Visa Bulletin).
    • By filing these forms concurrently, applicants can streamline the process, potentially reducing the overall processing time.

  • Adjustment of Status:

    • Adjustment of status refers to the process by which certain non-immigrants who are physically present in the United States can apply to become lawful permanent residents (green card holders) without leaving the country.

    • This process is available to individuals who meet certain eligibility criteria, such as having an approved immigrant petition (like Form I-130 or Form I-140) and a current priority date, maintaining lawful status, and being admissible to the United States.

    • Adjustment of status allows individuals to change their immigration status without the need for consular processing abroad.

In summary, concurrent filing is a procedural option available to certain employment-based green card applicants to file their immigrant petition and adjustment of status application simultaneously, while adjustment of status is the broader process by which eligible individuals apply to become permanent residents without leaving the United States.

Which option is better – Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status?

Whether consular processing or adjustment of status is better depends on individual circumstances and preferences. Here are some factors to consider when deciding between the two options:

  • Location and Travel:

      • Adjustment of status is processed within the United States, so applicants can remain in the country during the process and avoid the need for international travel.
      • Consular processing requires traveling to a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad for an immigrant visa interview.

  • Timing and Processing Time:

      • Adjustment of status processing times can vary but generally take several months to over a year, depending on various factors such as workload and USCIS processing times.
      • Consular processing timelines can also vary but may sometimes be faster than adjustment of status processing.
  • Risk Factors:

      • Adjustment of status may be preferable for individuals who have concerns about being able to obtain a visa or re-enter the United States if they depart for consular processing.
      • Consular processing may be necessary for individuals who are ineligible to adjust status in the United States due to reasons such as unlawful presence or other immigration violations.

  • Personal Preferences:

      • Some individuals may prefer the convenience of adjusting status within the United States and avoiding the need for international travel.
      • Others may prefer consular processing for various reasons, such as wanting to visit family abroad or feeling more comfortable with the process at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

  • Immigration History and Eligibility:

    • Eligibility requirements and restrictions may differ between adjustment of status and consular processing. For example, individuals with certain immigration violations or grounds of inadmissibility may be eligible for one option but not the other.

Ultimately, it’s essential to carefully assess individual circumstances, consult with an immigration attorney if needed, and consider factors such as convenience, timing, eligibility, and personal preferences when choosing between consular processing and adjustment of status.

How to determine if I am eligible for Concurrent Filing?

Determining eligibility for concurrent filing typically involves several factors, primarily related to the specific immigrant visa category you’re applying under, such as employment-based (EB) or family-based (FB), and the availability of a visa number based on your priority date. Here are the general steps to determine eligibility for concurrent filing:

  • Identify Your Immigration Category: Determine whether you’re applying for a green card through employment, family, or another eligible category.

  • File the Immigrant Petition: For employment-based cases, you or your employer must file Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker). For family-based cases, your qualifying relative typically files Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) on your behalf.

  • Check Priority Date: Your priority date is the date when USCIS received the immigrant petition (I-140 or I-130). Check the Visa Bulletin published monthly by the Department of State to see if your priority date is current. A current priority date means that a visa number is available for your category and country of chargeability.

  • Review USCIS Policies: Consult USCIS policies and updates to ensure there are no specific restrictions or changes affecting concurrent filing for your category.

  • Ensure Eligibility for Adjustment of Status: If your priority date is current and you’re in the United States, ensure you meet the eligibility criteria for adjustment of status, including maintaining lawful status, admissibility, and meeting any specific requirements for your immigrant category.

  • Compile Required Documents: Gather all required documents for both Form I-140 or I-130 and Form I-485, including supporting evidence, fees, and any additional forms or documents specific to your situation.

  • File Concurrently: If you meet all eligibility requirements and your priority date is current, you can file Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) concurrently with Form I-140 or I-130. Submit both applications together to USCIS, along with the required fees and supporting documents.

  • Monitor Application Status: After filing, monitor the status of your applications through USCIS’s online case status tool or by contacting USCIS directly. Be prepared to attend any required biometrics appointments or interviews as part of the adjustment of status process.

It’s important to note that eligibility requirements and procedures may vary based on individual circumstances and changes in immigration policies. Therefore, consulting with an experienced immigration attorney or accredited representative can provide personalized guidance and ensure you navigate the process correctly.

How to apply for concurrent filing if married to a US citizen

If you are married to a U.S. citizen and wish to apply for concurrent filing for adjustment of status, the process typically involves filing the following forms with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative:
      • The U.S. citizen spouse must file Form I-130 to establish the qualifying familial relationship. This form is used to petition for a foreign national spouse.
      • Learn more about Form I-130 in this guide.

  • Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status:
      • The foreign national spouse (beneficiary) can file Form I-485 to apply for adjustment of status to that of a permanent resident. This form is submitted concurrently with the I-130 petition.

  • Supporting Documents:
      • Include all required supporting documents with both the I-130 and I-485 applications. This may include proof of the U.S. citizen’s citizenship, marriage certificate, evidence of a bona fide marital relationship, financial documents, and any other required documentation.

  • Form I-864, Affidavit of Support:
      • The U.S. citizen petitioner must also submit Form I-864 to demonstrate that they have the financial means to support the intending immigrant. This form is part of the adjustment of status process.

  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (Optional):
      • The foreign national spouse may choose to file Form I-765 to request an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) if they wish to work while their adjustment of status application is pending.

  • Form I-131, Application for Travel Document (Optional):
    • If the foreign national spouse plans to travel outside the U.S. while the adjustment of status application is pending, they may file Form I-131 to apply for a travel document (Advance Parole).

It’s important to carefully review the USCIS instructions for each form and ensure that all required fees are paid. The forms and supporting documents should be mailed together to the appropriate USCIS address. Additionally, the USCIS website should be checked for the most up-to-date information and requirements.

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