Thursday, August 25, 2016

Visa Bulletin Filing Chart

Since September 2015, the Visa Bulletin has been giving two sets of priority dates, "the final action dates" and the second set of dates "filing dates". So, if the visa bulletin shows a filing date that means that one can file an application for adjustment of status if the priority date is prior to that date, but USCIS will not adjudicate the application until the priority date becomes current which is the final action date. This is the same way that the National Visa Center begins processing cases when the date of filing is current but will not schedule the case for consular interview until the priority date is current as shown in the final action date. The advantage of filing early based on the filing date is that the person may apply for work authorization and advance parole early.

The Visa Bulletin also directs people to visit for information on whether USCIS has determined that this chart can be used. It can be a little bit confusing. Follow the instructions on the website to determine if the Application for Adjustment of Status can be filed in accordance with the filing dates. If USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for a fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, they will state on the page that you may use the Dates of Filing Visa Application Chart. Otherwise, they will inform you to use the Application Final Action Dates chart to determine when you can file your adjustment of status application.

Now, USCIS plans on allowing both employment and family-based applicants to use the Visa Bulletin Filing Date chart at the beginning of the FY 2017, meaning on October 1, 2016. However; this is only a plan, not a guarantee. Even if USCIS will go with this new plan, it might only last for several months. To be sure that you receive the most up to date information, review your case with an attorney to determine if you will benefit from using the "Filing Date" chart.

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