There are a number of different ways a person came come to America legally, but all of them involve a visa. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has partnered with the Department of States to better understand just how many immigrant visas will be in demand each year. Based on that number, they can determine what the cut-off dates for visa issuance should be – dates that are published in their monthly Visa Bulletin. In order to do this, they have decided to revise “the procedures for determining visa availability for applicants waiting to file for employment-based or family-sponsored preference adjustment of status,” which in turn will ensure that the highest amount of visas that can be issued under Congressional decree are issued, and that the final action dates aren’t affected by the “month-to-month fluctuations” that occur each year.

Understanding the change

What the USCIS has decided to do is post two charts under two categories: family sponsorship and employment preference. Each category will see these two charts:

  • 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).

Each month, USCIS will review how many applicants there are, and then make sure that the charts in the Visa Bulletin reflect the accurate dates. The USCIS will also “compare the number of visas available for the remainder of the fiscal year with:

  • Document qualified visa applicants reported by DOS;
  • Pending adjustment of status applications reported by USCIS; and
  • Historical drop off rate (for example, denials, withdrawals, abandonments).”

This will help them determine how many more visas may be available.

There are two real benefits to this change.  Both of them are sure to be felt by immigrants here in Nashville. First, this new process should eliminate any discrepancies with how many visas are really needed each year. Second, it will allow you to get all of your paperwork together early (especially if you have a priority date that is earlier than the one in the Bulletin) so you can review it with your immigration lawyer before you take any next steps.

The Law Office of Perry A. Craft, PLLC provides immigration services to individuals and families throughout Tennessee. To learn more about the visa process, please contact our firm to speak with a dedicated Nashville immigration attorney about your goals.

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