Updated Instruction for Using the DOS Visa Bulletin

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Are you seeking to adjust your status and become a U.S. permanent resident under a family-sponsored or employment-based preference immigrant visa? If you have not yet had a relative or employer file an immigrant visa petition on your behalf, please learn more about the Adjustment of Status Filing Process. If you already have a petition filed or approved on your behalf, you may have to wait for an available visa in your category (if applicable) before you can file your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This article will help you determine when to file your adjustment of status application.

When to File

Use the Visa Bulletin charts below to determine when to file your adjustment of status application.

To use the charts:

1. Find your visa type in the first column (on the left) of the appropriate chart (Family-sponsored or Employment-based).

2. Stay in that row and move directly to the right to find the corresponding date under the country of your birth (as listed in the boldface columns across the top).

3. If the date on the chart is current (“C”) or your priority date is earlier than the date on the chart, you may file your adjustment of status application, if otherwise eligible to do so.

Your priority date is generally the date when your relative or employer properly filed the immigrant visa petition on your behalf with USCIS. If a labor certification is required to be filed with your immigrant visa petition, the priority date is the date the labor certification application was accepted for processing by the Department of Labor.

November 2015

Dates for Filing Family-Sponsored Adjustment of Status Applications

Family- Sponsored

All Chargeability Areas Except Those listed

China – mainland born

India

Mexico

Philippines

F1

01 MAY 09

01 MAY 09

01 MAY 09

01 APR 95

01 SEP 05

F2A

01 MAR 15

01 MAR 15

01 MAR 15

01 MAR 15

01 MAR 15

F2B

01 JUL 10

01 JUL 10

01 JUL 10

01 APR 96

01 MAY 05

F3

01 APR 05

01 APR 05

01 APR 05

01 MAY 95

01 AUG 95

F4

01 FEB 04

01 FEB 04

01 FEB 04

01 JUN 98

01 JAN 93

Dates for Filing Employment-Based Adjustment of Status Applications

Employment- Sponsored

All Chargeability Areas Except Those listed

China – mainland born

India

Mexico

Philippines

1st

C

C

C

C

C

2nd

C

01 JAN 13

01 JUL 09

C

C

3rd

01 SEP 15

01 OCT 13

01 JUL 05

01 SEP 15

01 JAN 10

Other Workers

01 SEP 15

01 JAN 07

01 JUL 05

01 SEP 15

01 JAN 10

4th

C

C

C

C

C

Certain Religious Workers

C

C

C

C

C

5th Non-Regional Center (C5 & T5)

C

C

C

C

C

5th Regional Center (I5 & R5)

C

C

C

C

C

About the Visa Bulletin

DOS publishes current immigrant visa availability information in a monthly Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletin indicates when statutorily limited visas are available for issuance to prospective immigrants based on their individual priority date.

On Nov. 20, 2014, the Secretary of Homeland Security directed USCIS to work with DOS to:

· Ensure that all immigrant visas authorized by Congress are issued to eligible individuals when there is sufficient demand for such visas, and

· Improve the Visa Bulletin system for determining when immigrant visas are available to applicants during the fiscal year.

Additionally, in July 2015, the Administration issued its report on Modernizing and Streamlining Our Legal Immigration System for the 21st Century. This report included detailed recommendations to revise and update the monthly Visa Bulletin to better estimate immigrant visa availability and provide needed predictability to nonimmigrant workers seeking permanent residency.

USCIS, in coordination with DOS, revised the procedures for determining visa availability for applicants waiting to file for adjustment of status. The revised process 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.

This revised process will enhance DOS’s ability to more accurately predict overall immigrant visa demand in determining the cut-off dates for the Visa Bulletin. This will help ensure that the maximum number of immigrant visas are issued annually as intended by Congress, and minimize month-to-month fluctuations in Visa Bulletin final action dates. Additional goals are outlined in the White House report, Modernizing and Streamlining Our Legal Immigration System for the 21st Century.

New Visa Bulletin Charts

The Visa Bulletin will now have two different charts because of the revised procedures. DOS will post two charts per visa preference category in the DOS Visa Bulletin. The charts are:

· Application Final Action Dates (dates when visas may finally be issued); and

· Dates for Filing Applications (earliest dates when applicants may be able to apply).

When USCIS determines there are immigrant visas available for the filing of additional adjustment of status applications, the Dates for Filing Applications chart may be used to determine when to file an adjustment of status application with USCIS. Otherwise, the Application Final Action Dates chart must be used to determine when to file an adjustment of status application with USCIS.

In coordination with the DOS, USCIS will monitor visa numbers each month and post the relevant chart on their website (uscis.gov) under When to File.

Determining Visa Availability

USCIS considers several factors to determine if there is a greater supply of visas than the demand for those visas. To determine visa availability, USCIS will compare the number of visas available for the remainder of the fiscal year with:

· Documentarily qualified visa applications reported by DOS;

· Pending adjustment of status applications reported by USCIS; and

· Historical drop off rate of applicants for adjustment of status (for example, denials, withdrawals and abandonments).

· Updated Instruction for Using the DOS Visa Bulletin

Beginning with the November 2015 Department of State (DOS) Visa Bulletin, if USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for a fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, USCIS will state on www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo that applicants may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart. Unless otherwise stated on their website, the Application Final Action Date chart will be used to determine when individuals may file their adjustment of status applications.

USCIS anticipates making this determination each month and posting the relevant chart on our website within one week of DOS’ publication of the Visa Bulletin.

About the Visa Bulletin

DOS publishes current immigrant visa availability information in a monthly Visa Bulletin. 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.

Reprinted with permission.


About The Author

Allen E. Kaye, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Queens College of the City of New York, Colombia Law School (JD) and New York University Law School (LLM), is the President of the Law Offices of Allen E. Kaye and Associates and Of Counsel to Pollack, Pollack, Isaac and DeCicco. He is a past National President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and Co-Chair of the Immigration Committee of the Queens County Bar Association. He has been selected by Martindale-Hubbell as a 2014 "Top Rated Lawyer" in the practice of Labor and Employment (for Immigration).

Questions for publication may be sent to Mr. Kaye at 225 Broadway, Suite 307, New York, N.Y. 10007 or by email at AllenEKaye5858@gmail.com or aek@ppid.com.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.