USCIS Information on Visa Availability and Priority Dates

Thứ Năm, 03 Tháng Mười Hai 201513:32(Xem: 3455)
USCIS Information on Visa Availability and Priority Dates


During the holiday season we often think about absent family members. And sometimes we try to decide if we should start sponsorship now or wait for some improvements in the US immigration system. Our advice is always “Start now”. There is nothing to be gained by waiting.

No one can predict what the future president and future congress will do about immigration reform. Several years ago some members of congress wanted to eliminate certain immigration categories entirely. However, sponsorship that is started now, before changes in the law, will not be affected.

USCIS recently published some information to help people understand how the U.S Department of State distributes immigrant visas. CIS also provided information about the Department of State Visa Bulletin process and specific ways to adjust status depending on your situation.

Availability of Immigrant Visas: Immigrant visas for “immediate relatives” of U.S. citizens are unlimited, so they are always available. Immediate relatives include: “Immediate Relatives” includes the spouses of U.S. citizens, the children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of U.S. citizens, the parents of U.S. citizens, and the Widows or widowers of U.S. citizens.

In the other immigrant visa categories, family-sponsored “preference” visas are limited to 226,000 visas per year. The “preference” categories include spouse and children of permanent residents, as well as single and married children or siblings of US citizens. In addition, there are limits to the percentage of visas that can be issued for each country. In the preference categories, demand for visas is always higher than the supply of visas, so there is always a waiting list or backlog

The monthly Visa Bulletin of the Department of State tells you when your relatives in the preference categories will be eligible to have their visa interviews. In the F-1 category, the Visa Bulletin for December shows that the cut-off date for adult, unmarried children of US citizens is 01 April 2008. That means if your Priority Date for the F-1 petition is before 01 April 2008, the case is current and ready for interview. The Priority Date is the date that the visa petition was received by CIS.

If a petition was filed before the Cut-off date in the Visa Bulletin, then the petition is Current. Applicants abroad cannot be issued an immigrant visa until their petition is current. There is no exception to this rule.

Visa Retrogression: Sometimes, a priority date that is current one month will not be current the next month, or the cut-off date will move backwards to an earlier date. This is called visa retrogression. This is when more people apply for a visa in a particular category than there are visas available for that month. When the new fiscal year begins on October 1, a new supply of visa numbers becomes available and the new supply returns the cut-off dates to where they were before retrogression.

What is Changing: The monthly Visa Bulletin from the Department of State now contains two charts for Cut-off dates. If you are already in the US, in legal status, and your priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed in the “Dates for Filing Applications”, you will be able to submit your Adjustment applications early, but will not receive Green Cards until their petitions become current. The advantage to this is that you can receive Employment Authorization and Advance Parole while waiting for the petition to become current. CIS will not begin processing these applications for a Green Card until the petitions become current.

This new system does not apply to applicants waiting outside the US because they will be applying for an immigrant visa rather than Adjustment. But the new system also does not in any way penalize applicants abroad. Their cases will not suffer any kind of delay under the new system.
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Q.1 I arrived from France on a WT visa and recently married my long time boyfriend who is a US citizen. Can I apply for a Green Card or do I have to return to France to wait for an Immigrant visa?

A.1. Because you are the immediate relative of a US citizen, you can remain in the US and file your Green Card application concurrently with an I-130 visa petition.
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Q.2. What is the current status of Mr. Obama’s Executive Actions for DACA and DAPA?

A.2. On 20 November, the White House has submitted the matter to the US Supreme Court. The Supreme Court decision will come some time in the late Spring of 2016.
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Q.3. Have any of Mr. Obama’s Executive Actions been implemented?

A.3. Mr. Obama has directed ICE not to try to deport all illegal immigrants and to focus only on those with criminal records. Also, CIS is expected to announce soon a new policy that will provide less strict requirements for “extreme Hardship” for I-601 and I-601A applicants.

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