by Farhad Sethna, Attorney, copyright 2015
The US Department of State posted a visa bulletin in a new format on September 9, 2015. In that format, the Bulletin announced two different dates for immigrant visa categories subject to the dreadful “priority date” backlog. An extensive discussion about this change is in another blog article on this website.
The news came with great rejoicing, because several immigrant visa categories which had been backlogged for years suddenly moved forward. This meant that immigrants who had been waiting hopefully for years could now file for their “green cards” for themselves and their families. This would mean that spouses and children could obtain work authorizations and drivers licenses, apply for college, and participate fully in the country that they choose to live in – the United States!
Those hopes were dashed when the Department of State released a “revised” Visa Bulletin late in the afternoon on Friday, September 25. Giving a reason that is no reason at all, the USCIS announced:
“Following consultations with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Dates for Filing Applications for some categories in the Family-Sponsored and Employment-Based preferences have been adjusted to better reflect a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process.”
Huh? What does that mean? Why were these consultations not done BEFORE the September 9 visa bulletin was issued? Even AILA (the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association) has accused the Administration of “ineptitude”.
The reality is that now aliens in some categories will still have to wait before they can file their applications for Adjustment of Status or get in the queue for immigrant visa issuance at US Consulates overseas. Those categories, and the additional delay for each is summarized in the following chart:
Category OLD filing date NEW filing date Difference
EB-2 China 5/1/2014 1/1/2013 1 year, 5 months
EB-2 India 7/1/2011 7/1/2009 2 years
EB-3 Philippines 1/1/2015 1/1/2010 5 years
FB-1 Mexico 7/1/1995 4/1/1995 3 months
FB-3 Mexico 10/1/1996 5/1/1995 1 year, 5 months
Explanation of these categories:
EB-2: Aliens with advanced degrees or aliens with exceptional ability;
EB-3: Bachelor’s degree workers or skilled and unskilled workers
FB-1: Unmarried sons/daughters of U.S. citizens
FB-3: Married sons/daughters of U.S. citizens
It is almost certain that the “filing dates” will regress very quickly in the future as the FISCAL YEAR (FY) 2016 filings pour in beginning October 1. My advice is: File your application at the first available opportunity!
About the author: Attorney Farhad Sethna has practiced law for over 20 years. Since 1996, he has been an adjunct professor of Immigration Law at the University of Akron, School of Law, in Akron, Ohio. He is a frequent speaker at Continuing Legal Education and professional development seminars on various immigration-related topics. His practice is limited to immigration and small business. With offices in Cuyahoga Falls, Akron and Dover, Ohio, Attorney Sethna represents clients in all types of immigration cases. Our number is: (330)-384-8000. Please send your general immigration questions to AttorneySethna@immigration-america.com. We will try to answer as many questions as possible.
This is only general legal information. Please consult a qualified immigration attorney for advice on your specific case.