Revised Procedures Announced by USCIS for Determining Availability for Visa Applicants Waiting to File for Adjustment of Status

 

The USCIS along with the Department of State (DOS) is revising the procedures in determining the availability for visa applicants who are waiting to file for employment-based or family-sponsored preference adjustment of status.  The re-examined process will better align with the procedures the DOS uses for foreign nationals who are looking to become U.S. permanent residents by applying for immigrant visas at U.S. consulates and embassies abroad.

The revised process will improve DOS’s ability to more accurately predict overall immigrant visa demand and determine the cut-off dates for visa issuance published in the Visa Bulletin. This will help make certain that the maximum number of immigrant visas are issued annually as intended by Congress, and minimize month to month fluctuations in Visa Bulletin final action dates.

What is changing?

Two charts per visa preference category will be posted in the DOS Visa Bulletin:

  • Application Final Action Dates (dates when visas may finally be issued); and
  • Dates for Filing Applications (earliest dates when applicants may be able to apply).

USCIS, in coordination with DOS, will monitor visa numbers each month and post the relevant DOS Visa Bulletin Chart. Applicants can use the charts to determine when to file their Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

USCIS will compare the number of visas available in order to determine whether additional visas are available for the remainder of the fiscal year with:

  • Documentarily qualified visa applicants reported by DOS;
  • Pending adjustment of status applications reported by USCIS; and
  • Historical drop off rate (for ex. Denials, withdrawals, abandonments).

About the Visa Bulletin

Current immigrant visa availability is published by DOS in a monthly Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletin indicates when statutorily limited visas are available to prospective immigrants based on their individual priority date.

  • The priority date is generally the date when the applicant’s relative or employer properly filed the immigrant visa petition on the applicant’s behalf with USICS. If a labor certification is required to be filed with the applicant’s immigrant visa petition, then the priority date is when the labor certification application was accepted for processing by Dept. of Labor.
  • Availability of an immigrant visa means eligible applicants are able to take one of the final steps in the process of becoming U.S. permanent residents.