On Wednesday, September 9, 2015, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), in conjunction with the Department of State (DOS), announced that it was “revising the procedures for determining visa availability for applicants waiting to file for employment-based or family-sponsored preference adjustment of status.”
Up until this point in time, an application for adjustment of status could only be filed in a preference-based case if the priority date for the case was current on the Visa Bulletin released by the Department of State. As of the October 2015 bulletin, the new Visa Bulletin creates a new, more generous “filing” cut-off date to allow applicants to file applications for adjustment of status before their priority date becomes current. A separate cut-off date for “Final Actions” will also be published each month.
The most dramatic example of this, in the Visa Bulletin for October of 2015, is in the employment-based second preference category for India, where the “Final Action” cut-off date is May 1, 2005, but any applicant who has a priority date earlier than July 1, 2011, may file an application based on the “Filing” cut-off date.
Being able to file an adjustment of status application earlier is important to foreign nationals because they can secure employment authorization and travel documents while they await final action on their application. This modification gives them greater flexibility and job mobility while stuck in long visa waiting lines that can take many years.
We are cautioning our clients that it remains to be seen when applications that can be filed in October 2015 will actually be reached on the “Final Action” cut-off date, and warning them that if the applications take longer than a year, it may become necessary for them to re-do the required medical examination, as it is only valid for a year.
If you or someone you know may benefit from this recent change in the Visa Bulletin system, please contact Managing Partner Michael Wildes at email@example.com.
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