Home > Department of State, USCIS > Visa Bulletin Changes and How to Read/Understand it

Visa Bulletin Changes and How to Read/Understand it

September 10, 2015

Effective October 2015, the U.S. State Department’s visa bulletin will include two different charts each for family-based and employment-based visa preference categories.   The charts are:

  • Application Final Action Dates (dates when visas may finally be issued); and
  • Dates for Filing Applications (earliest dates when applicants may be able to apply).

Generally speaking, unless otherwise indicated in this visa bulletin itself, individuals seeking to file applications for adjustment of status (i.e. Form I-485) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must use the “Application Final Action Dates” chart for determining when they can file Form I-485 adjustment applications. The visa bulletin may indicate the ability for such individuals to instead use theDates for Filing Visa Applications” charts, when USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for the fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas.

For instance, the October 2015 visa bulletin clearly indicates for family-based visa category that “USCIS has determined that this chart (4.B.) may be used (in lieu of the chart in paragraph 4.A.) this month for filing applications for adjustment of status with USCIS.” and for employment-based visa category that “USCIS has determined that this chart (5.B.) may be used (in lieu of the chart in paragraph 5.A.) this month for filing applications for adjustment of status with USCIS. ”  This means that for October 2015, individuals seeking to file adjustment applications (whether in family-based or in employment-based categories) may use the chart listed in Dates for Filing [of Family-Based or Employment-Based] Applications to determine their priority dates for Form I-485 filing purposes.

Background and reason for the change in visa bulletin:

According to State Dept., this revised process will enhance its ability to more accurately predict overall immigrant visa demand and determine the cut-off dates for visa issuance published in the Visa Bulletin. This will help ensure that the maximum number of immigrant visas are issued annually as intended by Congress, and minimize month-to-month fluctuations in Visa Bulletin final action dates.  The Visa Bulletin revisions implement November 2014 executive actions on immigration announced by President Obama and Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson, as detailed in the White House report, Modernizing and Streamlining Our Legal Immigration System for the 21st century, issued in July 2015.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: