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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in coordination with Department of State (DOS), has revised the procedures for determining visa availability for applicants waiting to file for employment-based or family-sponsored preference adjustment of status. The revised process was effective with the October 2015 visa bulletin published on September 25, 2015. The new format of the visa bulletin will better align with procedures DOS uses for foreign nationals who seek to become U.S. permanent residents by applying for immigrant visas at U.S. consulates and embassies abroad.

Also, the revised process will enhance DOS’s ability to more accurately predict overall immigrant visa demand and determine the cut-off dates for visa issuance published in the Visa Bulletin. This will help ensure that the maximum number of immigrant visas is issued annually as intended by Congress, and minimize month-to-month fluctuations in Visa Bulletin final action dates. The Visa Bulletin revisions implement the November 2014 executive actions on immigration announced by President Obama and Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson.

With the revisions, there will be two separate charts (or priority dates) for people to follow or monitor: Dates for filing applications (earliest date when a person may file for adjustment of status or for an immigrant visa) AND Application “final action dates” (dates when visas may finally be issued). View the newly revised visa bulletin at http://goo.gl/cQqGUW

Each month, in coordination with DOS, USCIS will monitor visa numbers and post the relevant dates for filing and action on the monthly Visa Bulletin chart (found on-line at http://goo.gl/cQqGUW). Applicants can use the charts to determine when to file their Form I-485, Application to Register/Adjust Status to Permanent Residence OR submit visa fees and required documents to the National Visa Center for Embassy/Consulate processing abroad.

However, in November 2015, the filing dates may dramatically change, and in some cases could only be a few months ahead of the visa issuance date, rather than years. Therefore, you may want to take advantage of the October 2015 dates. In addition, if you are out of status in the U.S., you may not be eligible to file for adjustment of status unless you have the benefit of Section 245(i). If the priority date (on your employment or family based petition) is now “current” in the application filing date chart, you should seek the advice and guidance of an attorney for Visa Bulletin Revisions Explained by Immigration Lawyer in Orlando, who can evaluate your situation, and determine if you can file for adjustment of status (and work authorization) years before your “visa issuance” priority date becomes current.

Background on the Visa Bulletin:

Department of State (DOS) publishes current immigrant visa availability information in a monthly Visa Bulletin (found on http://goo.gl/cQqGUW). The Visa Bulletin indicates when statutorily limited visas are available to prospective immigrants based on their individual priority date. The priority date is generally the date when the applicant’s relative or employer properly filed the immigrant visa petition on the applicant’s behalf with USCIS. If a labor certification is required to be filed with the applicant’s immigrant visa petition, then the priority date is when the labor certification application was accepted for processing by Department of Labor. Availability of an immigrant visa means eligible applicants are able to take one of the final steps in the process of becoming U.S. permanent residents.

 

For more information, email Gail@GailLaw.com or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.

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