The Visa Bulletin is a bulletin that has chart(s) with dates that the USCIS will accept the green card petitions listed for each category for family based immigration cases. The Visa Bulletin is issued by the U.S. Department of State and it is issued every month with updated information.
When reviewing the Visa Bulletin for Family based cases, you will see that there are two different charts currently being listed. The first chart is called “Final Action Dates,” and this is the original chart before President Obama added another more generous chart to the Visa Bulletin. The second chart called “Dates for Filing” has more generous dates, which means that applicants can file their petitions earlier than expected. Their green card petitions will not be finalized until their date is current according to the original chart, but the second chart provides them with an opportunity to file earlier and obtain benefits earlier, such as obtaining an employment authorization card, etc.
If the above is not confusing enough for non-lawyers, it is important to note that every month USCIS will determine if we are permitted to file under the second chart. For the month of October 2016, we ARE permitted to file under the second chart, called “dates for Filing” as noted above.
We have not been allowed to make use of the dates on the second chart for months now, and so the above is very good news for many applicants that can now file their green card application(s) sooner than expected.
An example of a case where this is helpful is a beneficiary in the U.S. on a valid student visa who is married to a green card holder. Instead of waiting approximately another year before she can file for her green card, we will now be permitted to file her adjustment of status petition in the month of October of 2016. Her priority date is before November 2015, and since she is in category 2A, she will soon be eligible to file for her green card.
It is important to note that I am not sure whether this will still be valid for November 2016, as a new Visa Bulletin will be issued by then and will have its own instructions. You can obtain the new information every month at www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo.
For further information as to whether the above helps you or a family member, please call my office and schedule a consultation.
The above does not constitute legal advice and the above does not create an attorney / client relationship.