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Overview of the Concurrent Filing Process

21st September 2011
By Jessica Potter in Immigration Law
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What is concurrent filing?

One easy way of getting a green card is through the adjustment of status process. When an immigrant petition and the adjustment of status application are filed simultaneously, then the process is referred to as concurrent filing. Both the applications are then mailed together with all necessary documentation and filing fees to the same filing location. The form that is used for adjustment of status is Form I-485.

Who can file Form I-485?
•Applicants who are presently residing inside the US with an approved Immigrant Petition may be eligible to file Form I-485.
•Applicants who are in some way related to a U.S. citizen (spouse, parent or child) may be eligible to file Form I -485 at the same time that the Immigrant Petition is being file. This is nothing but concurrent filing
•Individuals who have been an asylee or refugee for one year or more may also be eligible to file Form I-485

Applicants who are residing outside the U.S. are in no way eligible to file this form to adjust their status. They can go in for consular processing wherein they need to apply for an Immigrant Visa at a U.S. consulate abroad and later on adjust their status.

Who can go in for concurrent filing?
Not everybody can go in for concurrent filing process. Applicants need to satisfy certain criteria or fall under certain category (as given below) to be eligible for concurrent filing.
•Immediate relatives of US. citizens who are living in the United States
•Applicants who are immigrating to the US based on their employment and their family members (only if they are eligible) only when a visa number is available immediately.
•Immigrant Juveniles ( special cases)
•In case of a battered spouse or child, wherein self-petitioning is allowed, the abusive spouse or parent being a U.S. citizen, or when an immigrant visa number is being available immediately
•Certain Military Personnel who are applying for special immigrant visa under Section101(a)(27)(K) of the INA
•Immigrants who are employees of International Organization or their family members
It is always advisable for the applicants to ensure their eligibility conditions thoroughly for any immigrant category before they opt for this.

Is concurrent filing possible during consular processing?

Consular processing is for applicants who are presently residing outside the US and are applying to get a Green Card. As per the process, they will file a petition for an immigrant visa at the US consulate abroad. After it gets approved, a visa number will be designated. Once the visa number becomes current, an interview will be scheduled for the applicant in and a decision regarding their application will be arrived upon.

Concurrent filing is not possible during consular processing. The reason is that the immigrant petition has to be filed with USCIS and the application for an immigrant visa needs to be filed with the Department of State. Hence only an immigrant who is applying to adjust his/her status, while residing in the US can avail the concurrent filing process.

Relation between Visa Availability and Concurrent Filing

If a visa number is available, immediately at the time of filing, both the petition and application can be filed concurrently. As there are no limitations to the number of relatives of a US citizen in the immediate relatives’ category, concurrent filing is always allowed in this case.

If an applicant does not have an approved immigrant petition before filing in to adjust the status, then he/she cannot go in for concurrent filing even though they have a visa number that is immediately available
Generally, determining the eligibility for the immigrant visa petition is the first step during the concurrent filing process. However USCIS will review the adjustment of status application also at the same time if the visa number is available and I - 485 is approvable. The decision of the USCIS on the application will be sent as separate notices for both the forms

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