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Visa Bulletin to Have Two Priority Dates Each Month

Proposed changes will favor those who are already in the U.S. - lawful or not.

Crispin ArandaSeptember 4, 2015

Visa Bulletin to Have Two Priority Dates Each Month

Another reason why visa applicants prefer to stay – and in some cases overstay – in the U.S. instead of waiting for the issuance of their immigrant visas abroad.

The National Law Review (NLR) reported Sept. 3, 2015 (U.S. time) that the State Department intends to “reengineer its system for determining immigrant visa availability.”

Citing multiple sources as the basis for the report, the NLR says the change “appears to be in response to President Obama’s call for a modernization of the immigrant visa system contained in his Immigration Accountability Executive Actions proposed in November 2014.”

The Visa Bulletin is awaited by hundreds of thousands of applicants for immigrant visas (outside the U.S.) and those seeking to apply for adjustment of status (in the United States whether lawfully present or not).

A number of immigrant visa applicants in the Family and Employment-preference categories who were admitted into the U.S. in a nonimmigrant visa category have overstayed. 

Unless their priority date becomes current - as shown on the cut-off dates of the specific country where the applicant is a national of – an overstaying alien with an approved petition cannot apply for adjustment of status.

In addition, there are certain categories of aliens who are not eligible to apply for adjustment.  This includes those who have worked without employment authorization, or those who have otherwise violated the terms of a nonimmigrant visa. Overstaying is such a violation.

Under the proposed change, the State Department will create two separate categories of cut-off dates: one would reflect a date by which an alien with a filed, but pending application for adjustment of status may be approved (“approval cut-off date).

The other date – which would appear in the same monthly Visa Bulletin – will show a date by which an applicant for adjustment of status may file the application and be eligible for immigration benefits (such as employment authorization, application to leave and return to the U.S. on parole as well as the ability to have an employment-based visa taken over by a new employer)-  even if the priority date is not yet current.

From the outside looking in, the proposed changes seem to be a new invitation to get to the U.S. and even risk overstaying.

Donald Trump would have a field day with this and go up a notch further to becoming the Republican presidential nominee.

Authors & Contributors

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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