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In October 2015, the State Department and Department of Homeland Security announced a new format for the monthly priority dates.

The monthly Visa Bulletin would now have TWO charts: the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart; and the Final Action Dates chart.

(The Final Action Date chart is the old priority date chart from previous Visa Bulletins.)

The Dates for Filing chart was supposed to allow people to file for adjustment of status months or years ahead of the Final Action Date chart, to enable people to apply for work authorization while waiting for their priority date to become current under the Final Action Date chart.

However, for December 2015, USCIS announced a confusing mixture of these two charts in connection with when people can file for adjustment:

1. For family-based petitions, people can rely on the “Dates for Filing” chart for when they may file for adjustment of status.

That is good.

2. For employment – based petitions, people must go back and rely on the Final Action Date chart.

That is not so good.

By way of comparison, for employment based cases for the Philippines, the Application Filing Date is January 1, 2010.

However, the Final Action Date is August 1, 2007.

Therefore, starting December 1, 2015, people with employment-based petitions would be able to file adjustment of status applications only if their priority date is earlier than August 1, 2007 (rather than January 1, 2010).

As stated on USCIS’s website:

December 2015:

For Family-Sponsored Filings:

You may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart for December 2015.

For Employment-Based Filings:

You must use the Application Final Action Dates chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for December 2015.

What this means is now, you not only must check the State Department’s website for the Visa Bulletin for every single month, but must also check the USCIS’s website as to which chart it will follow for the upcoming month for filing adjustment of status.
 
Confused?

So are they.

***

Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 30 years, and is an active member of the State Bar of California and New York, as well as the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Immigration Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.  

He has always excelled in school: Valedictorian in High School; Cum Laude at UCLA; and Law Degree Honors and academic scholar at Loyola Law School, which is one of the top law schools in California.  

WEBSITE: www.gurfinkel.com

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TOLL FREE NUMBER:   1-866-GURFINKEL (1-866-487-3465)

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(This is for informational purposes only, and reflects the firm’s opinions and views on general issues. Each case is different and results may depend on the facts of a particular case. All immigration services are provided by an active member of the State Bar of California and/or by a person under the supervision of an active member of the State Bar. No prediction, warranty or guarantee can be made about the results of any case. Should you need or want legal advice, you should consult with and retain counsel of your own choice.)

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