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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.

dessert-kids-1435079Just 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

 

 

The last step when applying for a green card for applicants already in the United States on a non-immigrant temporary visa is the process of adjusting one’s status from the temporary nonimmigrant visa to a permanent immigrant visa. When the foreign national is outside the United States; he/she will directly apply for the Green Card at the US Consulate abroad In many cases, there is a long wait time before this final step can be completed.

flag-853814-mThere are only so many preference category immigrant visas/green cards that are issued each year per country and generally there are more applicants than visas available. The green cards that are issued each year are divided between the different preference categories (family-based, employment-based, etc.) and each country is assigned the same number of visas. Thus, India and China each have the same number of immigrant visas allotted to them as any other country, like Switzerland or Germany. Obviously, there is a shortage of visas for Indian and Chinese nationals as compared to German or Swiss nationals. So each applicant has to reserve his/her place in the line. Applicant’s place in line is determined by their priority date(s). Priority dates are given to each applicant and can be found on Form I-797, the approval notice for their Immigrant Visa Petition.

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President Obama’s “Immigration Accountability Executive Action” proposes several changes to the immigration system many of which could affect employment-based visas. The proposed changes could be good news for employees and employers by decreasing wait times for certain classifications, allowing spouses of H-1B visa holders to work and in some cases increasing the amount of time a employee can remain on his visa.

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The employment-based changes will affect green cards, H-4, L-1B, OPT and PERM classifications.

Ex
ecutive Action re Pre-Registration for Adjustment Cases
Main proposals:

  • Decrease wait time to file adjustment of status
  • Pre-register for green card and receive green card benefits while waiting for approval
  • Allow the temporary non-immigrant visa holder to change jobs while before green card is approved

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