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 eligibility, please contact us at Salas Law to speak with an experienced Williamson County Immigration Attorney.