New Visa Bulletin unveiled
On October 1, 2015, the Department of State (DOS) unveiled a new visa bulletin
as a result of a revision of the procedures for determining visa availability
for individuals who are in the process of obtaining permanent residency
based on an employment or family based immigrant visa petition.
The new visa bulletin sets out “dates for filing applications”
as well as “application final action dates.” One must compare
their priority date to those dates in the bulletin to determine eligibility.
What is my visa priority date?
Your visa priority date is generally the date an immigrant visa was filed
with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services on your behalf or the
date a labor certification was accepted by the Department of Labor on
your behalf as part of employment based sponsorship.
Why does my priority date matter?
Immigrant visas are statutorily limited and the wait time to be eligible
for an immigrant visa depends on the family or employment category you
have been classified under and your country of nationality. Unfortunately,
many categories are oversubscribed, resulting in extremely long wait times
for a visa to come available. It is only when a visa becomes available
that you may proceed with your application for an immigrant visa or permanent
residence. You know that a visa is available when your priority date is
current on the visa bulletin.
What does the change in the visa bulletin mean for me?
The revision of the bulletin has resulted in providing certain benefits
to individuals who are “in-line” waiting for a visa to come
available so that they may apply for permanent residence.
By virtue of this new bulletin, certain immigrant visa applicants and eligible
dependents (spouses and children under 21 years) may file an Application
to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status along with an application
for Work Authorization and an application for a Travel Document earlier
than they would have in the past.
The ability to gain work authorization for spouses and children is critical
for many families who up until this point have relied on the principal
applicant to be the sole source of income for the family.
How do I determine the current priority date?
Determine the “current priority date” by finding the date at
the intersection of your country of nationality and your family based
or employment based category. If your priority date is earlier than the
cutoff date on the visa bulletin, you may proceed with the immigrant visa
process by moving forward to the National Visa Center (NVC) stage or by
filing an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.
Salas Law is currently working with our eligible clients to move forward
in their immigrant visa process. If you have any questions regarding your
contact us at Salas Law to speak with an experienced
Williamson County Immigration Attorney.