Changing from Adjustment of Status to Consular Processing

For most types of immigrant petitions, such as a family-based petition for an alien relative (form I-130) or an employment-based petition for an alien worker (form I-140), the petitioner must indicate whether the foreign national beneficiary will be applying for adjustment of status (form I-485) from within the United States or applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate abroad, commonly referred to as consular processing.

If the immigrant petition indicates that consular processing will be used, but the foreign national instead decides to apply for adjustment of status, form I-485 can typically be used as normal. On the other hand, if the immigrant petition indicates that the beneficiary will apply for adjustment of status, but the beneficiary instead decides to use the consular processing option, an application for action on an approved application or petition (form I-824) typically must be submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Use Form I-824 to Transfer Case to National Visa Center

If the consular processing option is indicated on an immigrant petition, after the petition is approved, the case is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). Once the priority date is current, or at least close to becoming current, the NVC transfers the case to the appropriate consulate and the beneficiary is scheduled for an interview.

If the immigrant petition indicates that the case will be completed using the adjustment-of-status option, but the beneficiary decides instead to switch to consular processing, form I-824 is needed in order to have the case transferred to the NVC. Form I-824 generally should be filed as soon as possible, as it can take months to adjudicate. Further, note that, for most types of cases, the petitioner (usually the employer for an I-140 case) is required to sign the I-824.


The procedural requirements in the U.S. immigration system can be confusing. This is one of the many reasons that it often is best to work with an experienced attorney who can assist you throughout the entire immigration journey.

While some aspects of immigration have changed in significant ways in the years since MurthyDotCom began publishing articles in 1994, there is much that is still the same. From time to time, clients of the Murthy Law Firm are referred to articles, like this one, which remains relevant and has been updated for our readers.


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