November 2015 visa news

November 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 most dramatic example of this, in the Visa Bulletin for November of 2015, is in the employment-based third preference category for Philippines, where the “Final Action” cut-off date is June 15, 2007, but any applicant who has a priority date earlier than January 1, 2010, may file an application! In the family based categories, the first preference F1 has a Final Action cut-off date of June 1, 2002, but the Form I-485 may be filed if the applicant has a priority date earlier than September 1, 2005.

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

In the November 2015 bulletin, the F1 priority date final action moved one year in advance to June 1, 2002, while the other family based preferences moved between one week to six weeks. On the filing of application dates, only the F2B preference moved by four months. The rest did not move.

The employment based EB3 for skilled and unskilled workers moved by about six months each. Application filing dates remain the same at January 1, 2010.


Family Based Preferences:

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 June 1, 2002

(Application filing date is for priority date earlier than Sept. 01, 2005)

  1. Second Preference:

a. Spouses and Minor Children of Permanent Residents             May 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                                                                Nov. 1, 2004      

(Application date is for priority date earlier than May 1, 2005)

  1. Third Preference – Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens Oct. 8, 1993

     (Application date is for priority date earlier than Aug 1, 1995)

  1. Fourth Preference – Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens Jun 15, 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 Jun 15, 2007

(Application date is priority date earlier than Jan 1, 2010)

Unskilled – Other Workers                                                                       Jun 15, 2007    

     (Application date is priority date earlier than Jan 1, 2010))

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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