As announced on September 9th, effective October 1st U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is changing procedures for determining visa availability for applicants waiting to file for employment-based or family-sponsored preference adjustment of status. The revised process will allow many applicants to file applications to adjust status sooner than expected, and enable these applicants to obtain important temporary benefits, such as employment authorization and advance parole.
What is Changing:
Each month two separate charts per visa preference category will be posted in the Department of State’s 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).
Applicants can use these charts to determine when to file their Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status with USCIS. However, once filed the application to adjust status cannot be approved until the Application Final Date is reached.
Impact on Foreign Workers:
Many foreign nationals have been waiting years for visas numbers to become available so they may file applications to adjust status. The long wait causes uncertainty and family pressures, and this new initiative will make it easier for foreign workers to remain in and contribute to the US by relieving these tensions. Not only will qualifying workers be able to file to adjust status, spouses and children under the age of 21 may also file to adjust status along with the principal applicant and obtain work authorization. Everyday living will become easier for these families, as spouses might choose to enter the workforce and children will find it easier to attend college, obtain driver’s licenses, and have a summer job. For these workers and families, setting down permanent roots in the US may become a much more attainable reality.