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Friday, September 25, 2015

USCIS Backtracks on New Visa Bulletin

DOS Publishes Updated Visa Bulletin for October 2015
On Sept. 25, the Department of State (DOS) published an updated Visa Bulletin for October 2015. This bulletin supersedes the bulletin for October 2015 that was originally published on Sept. 9, 2015. Following consultations with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Dates for Filing Applications for some categories in the Family-Sponsored and Employment-Based preferences have been adjusted to better reflect a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process. The Dates for Filing Applications sections on pages 4 and 6, which have been adjusted, have been identified in bold type and highlighted.

Applicants should use the chart published by DOS on Sept. 25 when filing for adjustment of status. This chart has also been updated on uscis.gov. Please be advised that DHS will rely on this revised bulletin rather than the bulletin published on Sept. 9, 2015, when considering whether an individual is eligible to file his or her application for adjustment of status.

The Dates for Filing Applications chart is a part of the revised procedures for determining visa availability for applicants waiting to file for adjustment of status that USCIS announced on Sept. 9, 2015. Continue reading below for more information.

Background Information
USCIS, in coordination with Department of State (DOS), is revising the procedures for determining visa availability for applicants waiting to file for employment-based or family-sponsored preference adjustment of status. The revised process will better align with procedures DOS uses for foreign nationals who seek to become U.S. permanent residents by applying for immigrant visas at U.S. consulates and embassies abroad.
This revised process will enhance 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 ensure that the maximum number of immigrant visas is issued annually as intended by Congress, and minimize month-to-month fluctuations in Visa Bulletin final action dates.

The Visa Bulletin revisions implement November 2014 executive actions on immigration announced by President Obama and Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson, as detailed in the White House report, Modernizing and Streamlining Our Legal Immigration System for the 21st century, issued in July 2015.

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).
Each month, in coordination with DOS, USCIS will monitor visa numbers and post the relevantDOS 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.
To determine whether additional visas are available, USCIS will compare the number of visas 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 example, denials, withdrawals, abandonments).

Please visit the State Department Visa Bulletin for the revised October Charts.