Each month, the Department of State publishes family-based and employment-based visa availability in the Visa Bulletin, which indicates when visas are available to adjustment-of-status applicants based on their individual priority dates. Beginning in October 2015, USCIS will publish two charts. One, the “Application Final Action Dates” chart, will list the dates when visas may be issued, as in previous Visa Bulletins. The other, “Dates for Filing Applications,” is a new chart that will list the earliest dates when visa applicants may apply for their respective visa. The National Visa Center will accept documents based on the latter chart, and USCIS may accept applications for adjustment of status based on either chart.
Allowing early filing of adjustment of status applications may have distinct advantages. An intending immigrant may now be able to file an application and obtain work authorization while the application is pending, but months – and possibly years – before the application can actually be approved. In certain situations, an applicant may also be eligible for travel authorization while the application is pending but before it is approved.
Because of the large number of applications that will likely be submitted in October, the November Visa Bulletin may see a significant retrogression of filing dates. Applicants are therefore encouraged to file adjustment of status applications in October if their filing date is current.
For more information, please see http://www.uscis.gov/news/uscis-announces-revised-procedures-determining-visa-availability-applicants-waiting-file-adjustment-status.
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