Every month the Bureau of Consular Affairs publishes a Visa Bulletin that provides important information about filing dates for immigrants seeking Adjustment of Status. Published bulletins list the amount of visas available during the month of publication. The Bulletin also lists priority dates for filing Adjustment of Status.
Priority dates indicate how long the immigrant will have to wait before applying for a visa. If the priority date is before the date listed on the Visa Bulletin then the applicant can apply for a visa. The priority date is usually the date the employer or relative filed the immigrant’s visa or when the Department of Labor accepts a labor certification for processing.
The USCIS has recently implemented changes to the Visa
Bulletin publications in order to streamline the immigration process for those applying for Legal Permanent Residence. As the system stands now those waiting for Adjustment of Status may face barriers in changing jobs or receiving promotion. Released in July of this year is a full report called Modernizing and Streamlining Our Legal Immigration System for the 21st Century which describes the changes to the Visa Bulletin, first announced by Obama’s executive action last year.
Changes to Visa Bulletin
The USCIS has announced it will be implementing two changes to the Visa Bulletin. Two additional charts will be added to the Bulletin, one called “Applicant Final Action Dates” and one called, “Dates for Filing Applicants.” The “Applicant Final Action Dates” chart will give the date when the visa can be officially issued. The ”Dates for Filing Applications” Chart is to be used to determine when to file an adjustment of status application.
What will the Changes do?
When the priority date is earlier than filing date, applicants will be able to file for adjustment of status earlier than they would have been able to with the old system. This means that applicants will be able to receive employment authorization and travel documents sooner while waiting for adjustment of status to be officially approved. These applicants will still have to wait for the “final action” date to be current before the permanent resident status is approved.
Why is the Bulletin changing?
These changes are aimed more at accurate predictions of overall visa demand. The more accurate predictions will work to ensure that the maximum number of immigrant visas are being issued. This will likely decrease the backlog of applicants waiting for legal permanent status and decrease employment and travel barriers currently faced by applicants waiting for approval of legal permanent residence.
Those seeking to apply for adjustment of status for permanent residence could be receiving benefits sooner. To discuss these changes to the Visa Bulletin, when to file for adjustment of status or any other immigration issue, contact the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal. Attorney Khandelwal has over 10 years experience with immigration law and is conveniently located in the Silicon Valley.