December 2015 visa news

December 2015 visa news

By Crispin Caday Lozano

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), in coordination with the Department of State (DOS), has revised the procedures for determining visa availability for applicants waiting to file for employment-based or family-sponsored preference adjustment of status.

Effective October 1, 2015, an application for adjustment of status Form I-485 can be filed earlier, sometimes years in advance, of the actual availability of visa numbers.  The USCIS provides information on whether the Application Filing Date can be used for filing adjustment of status.  For the month of December 2015, the USCIS will allow the Application Filing Date to be used as basis for Family Based Preferences.  However, for Employment Based Preferences, the USCIS will allow only the Final Action Date as the basis for filing Form I-485.

The benefits of filing earlier is the applicant can get a working authorization with the chance of travel outside the United States.

In the December 2015 bulletin, the F1 priority date for Final Action moved six months in advance to January 1, 2003, while the other family based preferences moved from two weeks to one month in advance.  On the Filing of Application dates, only the F2B preference moved by three months.  The rest did not move.

The employment based EB3 for skilled and unskilled workers moved by about six weeks each.  Application filing dates to be used is the dame as Final Action Date.

A. APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES FOR FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCE CASES – These dates are consistent with prior visa bulletin priority dates.

The Department of State will be making a final action on the following petitions with priority dates earlier than indicated below.
1.  First Preference — Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens  Jan. 1, 2003
(Application filing date is for priority date earlier than Sept. 01, 2005)
2.  Second Preference:
a. Spouses and Minor Children of Permanent Residents   Jun 15, 2014
(Application filing date is for priority date earlier than Mar 1, 2015)
b. Unmarried Sons and Daughters 21 years and over of
Lawful Permanent Residents      Dec. 1, 2004
(Application date is for priority date earlier than Aug 1, 2005)
3.  Third Preference – Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens  Oct.  22, 1993
(Application date is for priority date earlier than Aug 1, 1995)
4.  Fourth Preference – Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens  Jul. 1, 1992
(Application date is for priority date earlier than Jan 1, 1993)

Employment Based Preferences:

1.  First Preference – Priority Workers     Current
2.  Second Preference – Advanced Degree Professionals   Current
3.  Third Preference – Skilled Workers & Professionals   Aug. 1, 2007
(Application date is priority date earlier than Aug. 1, 2007)
Unskilled – Other Workers      Aug. 1, 2007
(Application date is priority date earlier than Aug. 1, 2007)

Please note that the same law for adjustment of status is still in place.  This means that only those immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, those with current valid legal stay or those qualified under Sec. 245(i) may apply to adjust status.  INA Sec. 245(i) refers to those beneficiaries of petition filed on or before April 30, 2001.   In some cases physical presence need to be shown as of December 20, 2000.

Note: This is not a legal advice.

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