Department of State and USCIS Announce Major Changes to Visa Bulletin

The U.S. Department of State and USCIS recently jointly announced major changes to the Visa Bulletin that will allow eligible family- and employment-based immigrants to file for adjustment of status and/or immigrant visas under significantly different guidelines. The monthly Visa Bulletin now has two charts for both family- and employment-immigrants: a “Final Action Date” chart and a “Filing Date” (or “Dates for Filing”) chart. Previously, there was only one date listed on the Visa Bulletin, which was the “Priority Date” that controlled both eligibility for filing for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa, as well as immediate eligibility for that visa. Under the new chart, adjustment of status applications and/or immigrant visas will not be available until the date shown in the “Final Action Date” chart. However, adjustment of status and immigrant visa applications will now be accepted for processing according to the dates shown in the “Filing Date” chart.

For more detail, consult this page from the USCIS website. For applicants in the United States who are applying for adjustment of status, this is a major change in that it will allow most eligible applicants to file for adjustment of status significantly earlier, which will also enable qualified applicants to receive employment authorization and advance parole (travel authorization) a great deal earlier than before. In many cases, the changes enable filing for adjustment about a year earlier than would have previously been allowed under the prior system. These changes implement part of the executive action announced by the President in November 2014. For more background, consult the relevant White House Report from July, 2015.

Categories: Immigration Blog