Where should I apply for the Green Card?
Most clients who come into our office do not realize that there is a choice as to where to apply for the green card, also known as the immigrant visa, – either here or abroad. However, there are significant differences, the most important of which is that when you are outside the U.S. at the Embassy in your home country you are knocking at the door to get in. If the door is not opened, you are left out in the cold. Although consular officers are required to give a reason for a visa denial, including denial of an immigrant visa or green card, most of the time all we get are vague generalities. And here is the rub – there is no appeal or review of a consular denial. End of story. Unless the consular officer made a legal error, which can be reviewed by the State Department in Washington, a denial means you cannot get your green card.
The same is not true if you apply in the U.S. Once in the U.S. you are here. And if there are problems down the road with your case you have remedies, namely a right of appeal. And meanwhile you are here instead of there.
It is true that there are some travel restrictions when you apply from within the U.S. but more often than not our office is advising clients to process their green cards from within the U.S. whenever possible. As you might imagine, knowing when you can safely process here or overseas is a legally complex question.