Not all visas or green cards are obtained while the applicant is in the United States. In some cases, you may apply for a visa directly at the consular office in your native country, before traveling to the United States. The B1/B2 visa, for instance, allows you to travel to the U.S. temporarily, for business or pleasure. You can also obtain a K visa from your home country, which will allow you to visit your fiancé or fiancée in the United States, with the requirement that you will marry within 90 days.
Some of my clients even apply for green cards from outside the country, although this is less desirable than processing through the United States. When you are outside the US, you’re at the mercy of the consular office’s schedule–and I have had clients wait for nearly a year before obtaining a green card and being allowed to enter.
Is it better to stay in the US while filing?
In almost all cases it is better to file for a green card and stay on US soil until you get it. If you must leave the U.S. while you are waiting, there is something called advanced parole. This means you get permission from USCIS to reenter the country, but some people have had bad experiences with it. When approaching the border you will encounter the Combat Border Patrol, or CBP. You have no right to an attorney, or even a phone call. Although it has never happened to one of my clients, there have been cases where CBP has improperly denied entrance to an arriving alien. The chance of this happening is small, but it exists. The safest thing to do is to remain in the US until you get a green card.
At TNT Law, our experienced staff will help you evaluate whether consular processing is right for you. The risks will be explained to you and you will make the decision. If you decide to use consular processing or file for advanced parole, we will prepare the documents and help you through the process. From overseas you can make arrangements to call us via Skype to avoid long distance charges. Contact us to arrange a Skype appointment.
TNT Law. Opening the Door for You.