US State Department reissues October Visa Bulletin


The State Department has reissued the October Visa Bulletin with significant revisions in the cut-off dates for eligibility to file an application for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa. The revisions supersede the cut-off dates originally announced by the State Department and mean that far fewer employer-sponsored foreign nationals will be able to submit adjustments next month than originally anticipated.
 
The cut-off dates for eligibility to file an application for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa were rolled back by two years for EB-2 India, to July 1, 2009; by sixteen months for EB-2 China, to January 1, 2013; and by five years for the EB-3 and Other Worker subcategories for the Philippines, to January 1, 2010.
 
The State Department did not provide a detailed explanation of its reason for changing the filing eligibility dates, but suggested that the revised dates better reflect USCIS’s capacity to accept adjustment applications next month. The revisions come just a few weeks after the two agencies announced a reformatted Visa Bulletin that lists two cut-off dates for each backlogged employment-based preference category:  (1) an “application final action” date, as has always been reported in the Bulletin; and (2) a new “date for filing visa applications,” the cutoff date for eligibility to submit an application for adjustment of status or an application for an immigrant visa.  Final action dates are unchanged in the reissued October bulletin.
 
WHAT THE REISSUED VISA BULLETIN MEANS FOR EMPLOYERS AND FOREIGN NATIONALS
 
The sudden and unanticipated revision of the October Visa Bulletin means that many foreign nationals who were expecting to file an adjustment application and seek interim work and travel benefits will be unable to do so next month.
 
REVISED PRIORITY DATE CUT-OFFS FOR OCTOBER 2015
 
The State Department and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will use the following dates for acceptance of and final action on applications for adjustment of status and immigrant visas in October. Revised cut-off dates are marked with an asterisk.
 
Application Final Action Dates
 
An employer-sponsored foreign national whose priority date is earlier than the application final action date for his or her country and employment-based preference category will be eligible for final agency action to issue an immigrant visa, subject to government processing times. Those with a pending or approved Form I-140 immigrant worker petition can submit an application for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa. Others with a current priority date can file an I-140 and adjustment application concurrently.

DATES FOR FILING VISA APPLICATIONS
 
A foreign national whose priority date is earlier than the application filing date for his or her country and employment-based preference category may submit an application for adjustment of status or an application for an immigrant visa in October 2015, along with his or her eligible dependents. Foreign nationals in this category will still be subject to backlogs before they can attain permanent residence, but may file applications for an employment authorization document (EAD) and travel authorization (advance parole) while they await a green card.

Stuart Beaty

Celsium, Birmingham, UK