This is often the biggest question most immigration attorneys get asked when handling a spousal petition. There are two different options when adjusting status, consular processing and processing through USCIS in the states.
Consular processing occurs when the individual is outside of the U.S. and ineligible to process inside the U.S. Once the I-130 petition is approved, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center who performs their pre-interview process. After receiving payment of proper fees, the NVC then sends correspondence to the attorney/beneficiary. Once the documents are completed, NVC sends the approved documentation to the adequate consular post and an appointment letter is produced. The consulate generated is the place of last residence abroad.
The most important thing to remember when considering processing at a consulate abroad is determining whether the beneficiary is subject to any bars for unlawful presence. In general, if an applicant has been unlawfully present in the U.S. for over 180 days but less than a year, or for one year or more after April 1, 1997, they ill e subject to the 3- or 10-year bars respectively. The only way to prevent this is through a waiver.
Adjusting Status in The U.S.
Processing inside the U.S. what most would prefer if their spouse is already present in the states. In order to be able to adjust status inside the U.S., the beneficiary spouse must have a valid legal entry into the U.S. Contact an experienced attorney today to make sure that you/your spouse qualifies to adjust status in the states.