New Procedure for Determining When to File Adjustment of Status
USCIS has sent out an alert that the State Department’s Visa Bulletin has changed as of October 2015.
Due to a long-existing shortage of Immigrant Visas, the backlog for some immigration categories results in a multi-year delay, for example 10 years for EB-2 Indians and more for EB-3 Indians. When an application is filed in an immigration case, the date of filing is known as the “priority date.” This date serves as the place in the backlog line for an Immigrant Visa. In a PERM labor certification case, the priority date is the filing date of PERM labor certification. In a family-based case, the priority date is the filing date of Form I-130.
Once the latest monthly Visa Bulletin states that an Immigrant Visa is available for a case-type, the case may be finalized by filing of a Form I-485 (application to adjust status to permanent resident) and by subsequent USCIS decision on the application. As of October 2015, rather than just stating the date a case may be finalized, the monthly Visa Bulletin provides two dates: (1) the date USCIS may issue its final case decision, and (2) the earlier date on which the intending immigrant may file his/her Form I-485.
The result is earlier filing of Form I-485, including work and overseas travel permission. However, in some categories there still might be a long wait for the case to be finalized, since there are now different dates, one for filing of Form I-485 and one for USCIS to issue its final decision.
Please feel free to contact one of our immigration attorneys if you would like further clarification.