USCIS and the Department of State (DOS) are making major changes to the monthly Visa Bulletin. Under the current system, a person cannot file an Adjustment of Status (or green card) application with USCIS until his/her priority date is reached or has passed according to the Visa Bulletin. The changes are as a result of executive actions announced by President Obama in November 2014.
The Department of State will now publish two family and two employment-based Visa Bulletin charts each month: (1) Application Final Action Dates (dates when visas may finally be issued); and (2) Dates for Filing Applications (earliest dates when applicants may be able to apply). This means that Adjustment of Status applications can be filed before the priority date is current. For example, the October Visa Bulletin shows that the priority date for EB-2 cases for Indian nationals is May 1, 2005. However, anyone with a prority date before July 1, 2011, can file the final step of permanent residence.
The earlier filing of the I-485 has several direct benefits for both employers and employees:
October Visa Bulletin
Visa Availability and Priority Dates
When to File Your Adjustment
Elaine Martin has been practising US and global immigration law since 1997. She is an immigrant herself (from Ireland), so has a special understanding of the legal and emotional challenges involved in relocating to a new country.