Important Changes to the Visa Bulletin Affecting Adjustment of Status and Immigrant Visa Applicants

USCIS and the Department of State have jointly announced the following changes in the way visa number availability and eligibility to file for Adjustment of Status will be determined.

The monthly Visa Bulletin will now contain two charts:

  1. Application Final Action Dates (dates when immigrant visas may finally be issued and Adjustment of Status applications may be approved); and
  2. Dates for Filing Applications (earliest dates when applicants may be able to apply for an Immigrant Visa or Adjustment of Status).

The following examples from the just released October 2015 Visa Bulletin illustrates the affect of this change:

 Family-Based Immigration

The cut-off date for “final action” on a worldwide F2A (spouse or child of a Lawful Permanent Resident) is April 15, 2014. This means that an applicant with a “priority date” earlier than this date can be issued an Immigrant Visa Petition or be granted Adjustment of Status.

The cut-off date in the “dates for filing” chart on a worldwide F2A (spouse or child of a Lawful Permanent Resident) is March 1, 2015. This means that an applicant with a “priority date” earlier than this date can apply for an Immigrant Visa* or file an Adjustment of Status application.

 Employment-Based Immigration

The cut-off date for “final action” on an EB-2 Mainland China applicant is January 1, 2012. This means that an applicant with a “priority date” earlier than this date can be issued an Immigrant Visa Petition or be granted Adjustment of Status.

The cut-off date in the “dates for filing” chart on an EB-2 Mainland China applicant is May 1, 2014. This means that an applicant with a “priority date” earlier than this date can apply for an Immigrant Visa* or file an Adjustment of Status application.

The major benefit of this change is that some applicants who are in the U.S. and are eligible for Adjustment of Status will be able to file their I-485 Adjustment of Status application much earlier than before. This will allow those individuals to obtain an Employment Authorization and Advance Parole document and may eliminate the need to seek an extension of their nonimmigrant status. This is of particular importance to applicants who may no longer have the ability to extend their nonimmigrant status.