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New Changes Implemented in Visa Bulletin

Every month the Bureau of Consular Affairs publishes a Visa Bulletin that provides important information about filing dates for immigrants seeking Adjustment of Status. Published bulletins list the amount of visas available during the month of publication. The Bulletin also lists priority dates for filing Adjustment of Status.

Priority dates indicate how long the immigrant will have to wait before applying fora visa. If the priority date is before the date listed on the Visa Bulletin then theapplicant can apply for a visa. The priority date is usually the date the employer orrelative filed the immigrant’s visa or when the Department of Labor accepts a laborcertification for processing.

The USCIS has recently implemented changes to the Visa
Bulletin publications inorder to streamline the immigration process for those applying for Legal PermanentResidence. As the system stands now those waiting for Adjustment of Status mayface barriers in changing jobs or receiving promotion. Released in July of this year is a full report calledModernizing and Streamlining Our Legal Immigration System for the 21st Centurywhich describes the changes to the Visa Bulletin, first announced byObama’s executive action last year.

Changes to Visa Bulletin

The USCIS has announced it will be implementing two changes to the Visa Bulletin. Two additional charts will be added to the Bulletin, one called “Applicant FinalAction Dates” and one called, “Dates for Filing Applicants.” The “Applicant Final Action Dates” chart will give the date when the visa can beofficially issued. The ”Dates for Filing Applications” Chart is to be used to determinewhen to file an adjustment of status application.

What will the Changes do?

When the priority date is earlier than filing date, applicants will be able to file foradjustment of status earlier than they would have been able to with the old system.This means that applicants will be able to receive employment authorization andtravel documents sooner while waiting for adjustment of status to be officiallyapproved. These applicants will still have to wait for the “final action” date to becurrent before the permanent resident status is approved.

Why is the Bulletin changing?

These changes are aimed more at accurate predictions of overall visa demand. Themore accurate predictions will work to ensure that the maximum number ofimmigrant visas are being issued. This will likely decrease the backlog of applicantswaiting for legal permanent status and decrease employment and travel barrierscurrently faced by applicants waiting for approval of legal permanent residence.

Those seeking to apply for adjustment of status for permanent residence could bereceiving benefits sooner. To discuss these changes to the Visa Bulletin, when tofile for adjustment of status or any other immigration issue, contact the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal. AttorneyKhandelwal has over 10 years experience with immigration law and is convenientlylocated in the Silicon Valley.

Cited Sources:

When to File Your Adjustment ofStatus Application for Family-Based or Employment-BasedPreference Visas, September 10,2015, USCIS



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Much Longer Wait Times for Green Cards- Department of State Edits Previously Modernized Visa Bulletin

Department of States Alters Recently Modified Visa Bulletin

On September 9th the Department of Homeland Security released new updated changes to the visa bulletin. These changes modernized the visa system and moved up priority dates for those applying for adjustment of status. The revisions to the visa bulletin were part of President Obama’s plans to modernize the US immigration system. Obama’s proposed changes to modernize and streamline the immigration system were detailed in a White House report released back in July.

Green Card this way Blue Red and White highway sign with words Green Card with stormy sky background

Just two weeks after the updated September 9th visa bulletin was released, the visa bulletin changed again on September 25th pushing back priority dates significantly. Those affected will have to wait years longer to file for adjustment of status than previous indicated by the visa bulletin released on September 9th.

Changes to Visa Bulletin Announced September 25, 2015

The Department of State pushed back the priority dates for those waiting to apply for a green card. Those affected will have to wait several years longer in some cases.

Those affected can be summarized as:

  • EB-2 China- Old priority date was May 1, 2014. New priority date January 1, 2013. This is a 1 year, 5 months difference.
  • EB-2 India- Old priority date was July 1, 2011. New priority date July 1, 2009. This is a 2 years difference.
  • EB-3 Philippines- Old priority date was January 1, 2015. New priority date January 1, 2010. This is a 5 years difference.
  • FB-1 Mexico- Old priority date was July 1, 1995. New priority date is April 1, 1995. This is a 3 months difference.
  • FB-3 Mexico- Old priority date was October 1, 1996. New priority date is May 1, 1995. This is a 1 year, 5 months difference.

What Does This Mean?

Those eligible to apply for green cards will now have to wait longer than previously projected just 2 weeks ago. Originally the changes to the visa bulletin would have allowed many immigrants to apply for green cards several years earlier. Now in some cases, those eligible will have to wait 5 years longer. Foreign nationals from China and India will face significantly longer waits, 1 years 5 months and 2 years longer respectively.This change will impact thousands of families living in the US, who planned to receive a green card much earlier.

Additionally these actions reflect an unfortunate step backwards for the US immigration system. For several years the visa bulletin needed updating to decrease the backlog of immigrants waiting to file for adjustment of status. Unfortunately when a change finally occurred that would have dramatically decreased the wait time and positively affected many immigrants and their families, the visa bulletin was quickly reverted back to the old system of long wait times.

Contact Us

To navigate the visa bulletin, determine correct filing dates or receive assistance filing for adjustment of status contact the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal. Attorney Khandelwal can assist with employment-based or family-based visa applications. The Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal is located conveniently in the Silicon Valley.


Cited Sources:

DOS Publishes Updated Visa Bulletin for October 2015, September 25, 2015, USCIS



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