Upcoming Changes to the Visa Bulletin
Pursuant to the executive actions announced by President Obama in November 2014, the Department of State (DOS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have announced revised procedures on how to modernize and streamline the visa backlog system. In order to more accurately predict overall immigrant visa demand and maximize number usage, the DOS will now issue two separate priority date charts in its monthly Visa Bulletin, both for employment based applications and family based applications, which will determine visa availability for applicants waiting to file for Adjustment of Status. This change will go into effect on October 1, 2015.
The two charts represented in the new style of the monthly Visa Bulletin will be organized as follows:
- Application Final Action Dates: This chart shows the priority dates that are eligible for final I-485 adjudication and approval of the Green Card. This chart functions in the same ways that the Visa Bulletin always has in the past.
- Dates for Filing Visa Applications: This chart is new and will show priority dates that are eligible to file the I-485 Application to Adjust Status. It is important to note that when your priority date becomes current using this chart of the Visa Bulletin, you will be eligible to file for Adjustment of Status and take advantage of the benefits that comes with such filing, including being eligible to apply for EAD and Advance Parole benefits; however, your Application to Adjust Status will not be sent for final review and adjudicated until your priority date becomes current on the “Application Final Action Dates” chart of the Visa Bulletin.
It is important to note that these changes in the second chart of the Visa Bulletin only allow an individual to file for Adjustment of Status and may not shorten the amount of time it takes to receive the approved Green Card. It is impossible to predict what may happen in future Visa Bulletins, and it is quite possible that there will still be big monthly fluctuations, especially during the early stages of this change.
If you have any questions about how your case may be impacted by these new Visa Bulletin changes, feel free to contact our office.