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Certain Applicants without a Current Priority Date to become Eligible to File for Adjustment of Status Beginning October 2015

22:25 09 September in News Updates
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This information is likely of interest to foreign national employees who are pursuing U.S. permanent residence (a green card) through adjustment of status.

Certain Applicants without a Current Priority Date to become Eligible to File for Adjustment of Status Beginning October 2015

The October Visa Bulletin includes a positive development that will benefit quota backlogged immigrant visa (i.e. greencard) applicants. The Visa Bulletin will now contain two charts:

  1. The first chart lists the “current” priority dates, which are the dates when applicants become eligible to receive a greencard.  
Employment- Based All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA – mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C
2nd C 01JAN12 01MAY05 C C
3rd 15AUG15 15OCT11 08MAR04 15AUG15 01JAN07
Other Workers 15AUG15 01JAN06 08MAR04 15AUG15 01JAN07

 

  1. A new second chart lists the dates when an adjustment of status application can be filed even though the priority date is not current for final adjudication per the first chart.

 

Employment- Based All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA- mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C
2nd C 01MAY14 01JUL11 C C
3rd 01SEP15 01OCT13 01JUL05 01SEP15 01JAN15
Other Workers 01SEP15 01JAN07 01JUL05 01SEP15 01JAN1

This means that applicants whose priority date is on or after the date listed on the first chart may still file an adjustment of status application as long as their priority date is earlier than the date listed on the second chart.

For instance, an applicant who is chargeable to India in the EB-2 category with a priority date of June 30, 2011 may file an application for adjustment of status in October, but will not be eligible to receive an immigrant visa until that priority date becomes current per Chart 1. As of October 1st, only EB-2 India applicants whose priority date is prior to May 1, 2005 will be eligible to complete the final step of the greencard process.

The “C” listing indicates that the category is current, and that applications may be filed regardless of the applicant’s priority date.

Our office will notify clients of their eligibility to apply for adjustment of status.

Background

Every federal fiscal year there are a limited number of immigrant visas available in each immigration category, for each nationality. When a particular category is over-subscribed, a backlog develops. Individuals who are subject to the quota backlog cannot proceed to the last step of the green card process until there is a visa available for them.

In the EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 preference categories (employment-based first, second and third preference, respectively), this backlog has primarily impacted those born in India and China. However, for the past few years it has also applied to individuals of all nationalities in the EB-3 category.

Immigrant visas are “charged” to the applicant’s (or spouse’s) country of birth. Please note that country of citizenship is not relevant.

A “priority date” establishes a person’s place in line to receive an immigrant visa. The priority date is established either by the filing of a PERM labor certification, or by the filing of an immigrant visa petition for categories which do not require a labor certification. Priority dates do not advance or retrogress in a consistent manner; from month to month, the priority dates and nationalities affected can change. Individuals with priority dates earlier than the posted date on the second chart listed in the visa bulletin can proceed with the last step of the green card process, but only applicants with a priority date prior to the date listed on the first chart will be eligible to receive a greencard.

The State Department posts priority dates monthly in the Visa Bulletin; that is, each month it establishes a cut-off date in each category, for each nationality.

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