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Revised Procedures For Adjustment of Status Applications

on Thursday, 24 September 2015 in Labor & Employment Law Update: Sarah M. Huyck, Editor

In response to the executive action on immigration announced in November 2014, the U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) adopted new procedures for filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

Current procedures

Under the existing procedures, the DOS publishes a monthly Visa Bulletin which indicates availability of immigrant visas to prospective applicants based on their preference categories, countries of chargeability, and individual priority dates. Prospective immigrants may not file their Form I-485 applications until respective immigrant visa numbers become available.

Revised procedures

Under the revised procedures, the DOS and the USCIS will determine immigrant visa availability by analyzing the remaining number of immigrant visas and the number of qualified applications submitted to the USCIS. As a result, beginning October 2015, the Visa Bulletin will contain two separate charts in the employment-based and family-based immigrant categories.

The Application Final Action Dates Chart will contain the priority dates that are current. This Chart will be similar to charts included in the existing Visa Bulletin and will apply to matters that can be approved.

The Dates for Filing Applications Chart will contain the earliest priority dates for which prospective immigrants may file their Form I-485 applications. This new Chart will allow filing of certain Form I-485 applications before the respective priority dates are current if the DOS and the USCIS determine that there are more immigrant visas available for the fiscal year than there are immigrant applicants who applied for such visas.

Ensuing Effects

The revised procedures are intended to allow certain prospective immigrants to file their Form I-485 applications earlier than their priority dates become current. The monthly Visa Bulletin will now indicate if the DOS and the USCIS have determined that the new Dates for Filing Applications Chart may be used. Although it will still take time to obtain actual adjudication of filed Form I-485 applications, eligible immigrants and their dependent family members may benefit from earlier filings by being able to file concurrent applications for interim employment authorization and advance parole travel documents.

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