Is a Major Overhaul Coming for the Visa Bulletin?

04. Sep. 2015

The National Law Review has reported that the U.S. Department of State (DOS) is creating a new class of “acceptance” cut-off dates that would allow applicants (particularly beneficial for those born in India and China) to file their Adjustment of Status (I-485) application before their priority date (PD) becomes current. This reengineering effort is a result of President Obama’s call for a modernization of the immigrant visa system contained in his Immigration Accountability Executive Actions proposed in November 2014.

It is our understanding that DOS intends to create two separate cut-off dates, both of which would be reflected in each monthly Visa Bulletin. The first, an “approval” cut-off date, will regulate when an I-485 may be approved. The second, an “acceptance” cut-off date, will regulate when an I-485 may be filed. Once the I-485 is filed, the foreign national will be eligible for the secondary benefits available to AOS applicants, including employment authorization documents, advance parole authorizations, and I-140 immigrant petition portability.

It is likely that the “acceptance” cut-off dates will be several years before the “approval” cut-off dates in the China/India EB categories, with the result being that a large number of nationals from these countries will be able to file AOS applications much sooner than the current system allows.  This is a major development in the employment-based green card process and will be particularly welcomed by applicants born in India and China, who currently wait years before becoming eligible to file I-485 under the EB-2 and EB-3 categories.