Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Changes to the Department of State's Visa Bulletin System (Angela Lopez)

By Angela Lopez

On September 9, 2015, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of State (DOS) announced changes to the DOS' current system for determining when an application for adjustment of status (“green card”) may be filed.
This is a significant improvement for individuals who are in the United States caught in the employment and/or family based backlogs as they will be able to receive employment authorization and travel documents.  This will allow individuals caught in the employment-based backlogs greater flexibility and job mobility  and individuals caught in the family-based backlogs to seek employment while they await final action on their immigration petitions.

Starting with the Visa Bulletin for October 2015, there are two important dates listed on the monthly Visa Bulletin:

   -the "filing date," which determines when individuals can submit their permanent residence applications, and

   -the "final action" date, which determines when the Department of State or USCIS can make a decision on the applications.

If you have a "priority date" earlier than the listed "filing date" for their particular visa category and country, you will be able to file your application for permanent residence earlier than you would have been allowed under the old system.  However, you will still have to wait for the "final action" date to become current before permanent residence is approved.  

For more information about the changes to the visa bulletin system click here.

For more information about priority dates, please click the following: Priority Dates - How Do They Work?

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