On Sep 10 2015

Revised Procedures for Determining Immigrant Visa Availability

On September 9, the Department of State and U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services announced a revised procedure for determining immigrant visa availability and filing adjustment of status applications. This is a result of President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration, announced in November 2014. The goal of this revised process is for the Department of State to better predict the demand for immigrant visas in each category, which will allow for more realistic determinations of the cut-off dates for immigrant visa issuance.

The new process allows foreign nationals who have an immigrant visa based on family or employment to file an adjustment of status application once their priority date is listed on a separate chart on the monthly Visa Bulletin, entitled “Dates for Filing Applications.” In the October Visa Bulletin, these dates are earlier (and in some categories, significantly earlier) than the priority dates available for final adjudications. The new system will allow for greater flexibility in work and travel authorization as the foreign national is waiting for their priority date to be current for final action on a separate chart called “Application Final Action Dates.” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service will perform initial processing, but will not take final action on the adjustment of status applications until the later priority date is current in the Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletins are published monthly by the Department of State.

The Visa Bulletin indicates when immigrant visas are available based on priority date. The priority date is the date on which the applicant’s relative or employer filed the immigrant visa petition on the applicant’s behalf. In case of employer sponsorship through labor certification, the priority date is the date the labor certification was filed with the Department of Labor. Certain immigrants may also “recapture” earlier priority dates established by other immigrant visa petitions on their behalf.

We will be working with clients to identify all of the foreign nationals now eligible to file adjustment of status applications in October based on the new Visa Bulletin format.

If you have questions about the revised procedures, please contact your Klasko Law attorney.