BIG October Visa Bulletin Changes
Visawolf is happy to confirm that the USCIS and State Department jointly announced that starting October 1, 2015, it will allow many more applicants with more recent priority dates to apply for adjustment of status ( “AOS” or “I-485”) and consular processing (“CP” or “DS-230”), even if their priority dates are not current. Although the new policy applies to both AOS and CP, the major impact will be on AOS applicants — some who have been waiting nearly a decade–to file AOS. These new AOS applicants (plus spouses and children) will be able to receive Employment Authorization Documents – work permits- (“EADs”) and Advance Parole – travel permits – (“APs”).
Here are some highlights:
Eight Year Jump for EB-3 Philippines applicants with priority dates January 1, 2015 or older, will be able to file AOS as of October 2015. The actual priority date available under EB-3 Philippines next month is January 2007. In effect a full eight years’ worth of EB-3 Philippines applicants can file AOS next month!
Six Year Jump for EB-2 India applicants with priority dates July 1, 2011 or older, will be able to file AOS as of October 2015. The actual priority date available under EB-2 India next month is May 1, 2005. In effect a full six years’ worth of EB-2 India applicants can file AOS next month!
Two Year Jump for EB-2 China applicants with priority dates May 1, 2014 or older, will be able to file AOS as of October 2015. The actual priority date available under EB-2 China next month is January 2012. In effect a full two years’ worth of EB-2 China applicants can file AOS next month!
- The Visa Bulletin will show two separate tables of dates – Table A shows the “Final Action Dates” which are the priority dates of cases which can be approved for permanent residence (AOS approval or immigrant visa issuance). Table B shows “Visa Filing Dates” which are the priority dates of cases which can be filed for permanent residence (AOS or CP).
- Longer Processing Times – The new policy allows thousands of people with more recent priority dates to apply for AOS. It is not likely the USCIS will hire more adjudicators so we can expect delays in issuing receipts and longer processing times.
- Visa Bulletin Updates – At the end of each month, the USCIS and Dept of State will see how many people apply for AOS/CP. Based on the number of people actually approved for permanent residence, they will revise Table A; based on the number of people in the pipeline, they will revise Table B.
- Travel to the US to file AOS – Thousands of people, perhaps tens of thousands, now eligible to file AOS are outside the US. Many ran out of time on their H working visas and left the US years ago. These people are now eligible to return to the US and file AOS and receive the EAD/AP. Such an immigrant may plan to enter the US as a “visitor” and then file AOS shortly after arrival. This can be risky since a visitor is not supposed to be an intending immigrant. Careful planning is needed to ensure timely – and lawful – arrival in the US.
For more information on the new policy and how it may affect your case, please contact our office for a consultation.
The October 2015 Visa Bulletin is available at this link: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/law-and-policy/bulletin/2016/visa-bulletin-for-october-2015.html