USCIS announced today that, in conjunction with the Department of State (DOS), it is revising the procedures for determining when an application for adjustment of status may be filed, thus implementing part of President Obama’s November 2014 executive actions on immigration. Starting with the Visa Bulletin for October 2015, there are two important dates listed on the monthly Visa Bulletin: the “filing date,” which determines when individuals can submit their permanent residence applications, and the “final action” date, which indicates when DOS or USCIS can make a decision on the applications.
- Now there are two important dates listed on the monthly Visa Bulletin: the “filing date,” which determines when individuals can submit their permanent residence applications, and the “final action” date, which determines when the Department of State or USCIS can make a decision on the applications.
- If the immigrant has a “priority date” earlier than the listed “filing date” for their particular visa category and country, they will be able to file their applications for permanent residence earlier than they would have been allowed under the old process. However, they will still have to wait for the “final action” date to become current before permanent residence can be approved.
- For people who are in the United States stuck in the long visa backlogs, this means they will be able to receive employment authorization and travel documents while they await final action on their cases.
- Though most individuals stuck in the employment-based backlogs already have employment authorization through an existing temporary visa, this procedural change will give them greater flexibility and job mobility while allowing them to maintain their status.
- Individuals stuck in the family-based backlogs will be able to seek employment while waiting their final determination, bringing more economic stability to these families-though in most cases it will only reduce their wait for employment authorization by a matter of a few months or a year.
Thomas J. Geygan, Jr.