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Priority Dates and Visa Availability

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Priority Dates & Visa Availability

This page can assist you to understand how the U.S Department of State (DOS) allocates immigrant visas, the DOS Visa Bulletin process and specific ways in which to adjust status depending on your situation.
You will find on this page:
Finding Your Priority Date
Availability of Immigrant Visas
Visa Retrogression
Acceptance of Adjustment of Status Applications
Concurrent Filing
Checking your place within the Visa Queue
INA 204-J movability under AC21
H-1B Extensions under AC21
Medical
The validity of EAD/Advance Parole documents
Exchanging a Pending Change of Status Application starting with One Eligibility Basis to Another

If youre a prospective immigrant, youll notice your priority date on Form I-797, Notice of Ac-tion, for the petition filed on your behalf.Waiting time depends before receiving a adjusting status or an immigrant visa:
The demand for and supply of immigrant visas.
The per-country visa limitations.
The number of visas allotted for your preference category.
A.Family-Sponsored Priority Dates
For family-sponsored immigrants, when the petitioner s correctly filed the form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, or in certain instances the Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant with USCIS is called priority date .
B.Employment-Based Priority Dates
For employment-based immigrants, the priority date depends on the following:

If Your Preferred category Then your priority date is the date:
Needs a Labour certification from Department of Labour (DOL) The labour certification application is accepted for processing by DOL.
To preserve the priority date, the petitioner should file form I-140, immigrant Petition for Alien worker, with USCIS within one hundred eighty days of the DOL approval date on the labour certification as an alternative the labour certification isnt any longer valid.
Does not require a DOL labour certification USCIS accepts Form I-140 for processing to classify the sponsored worker under the requested preferred category.
Fourth preferred special immi-grant, with religious workers USCIS admit the Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Wi-dow(er) or Special Immigrant, for process.
Fifth preferred investor USCIS admit the Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien En-trepreneur or Businessman, for process.

The Immigration and status Act (INA) sets the number of immigrant visas that will be issued to foreign nationals seeking to become lawful permanent residents (get a green Card) an-nually.
Immigrant visas for immediate relatives of U.S.Citizens are unlimited, in order that they are always available. Immediate relatives include:
The spouse of U.S.Citizen,
The child (unmarried and under twenty-one years of age) of U.S.Citizen,
The parent of U.S.Citizen a minimum of twenty-one years old, and
Widow or widowers of U.S.Citizen if the U.S. citizen filed a petition before his or her death or if the widow(er) files a petition within two years of the citizens death.
Immigrant visas for the family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant preference cat-egories are numerically limited so that they arent always immediately available. For addi-tional info,please browse our webpage Green Card Eligibility.
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) is that the agency that allocates immigrant visas. In general, family-sponsored preference visas are restricted to 226,000 visas annually and em-ployment-based preference visas are restricted to 140,000 visas annually. (By statute, these annual visa limits could also be exceeded once certain immigrant visas from the previous financial years allocation werent absolutely used.) both categories are more divided into many sub-categories, each of that receives a certain share of the overall visa numbers as prescribed by law. in addition, there are limits to the percentage of visas which will be as-signed based on an immigrants country of chargeability (usually the country of birth).
When the demand is above the availability of visas for a given year in any given category or country, a visa queue (waiting list or backlog) forms. To distribute the visas among all prefe-rence categories, DOS allocates the visas in line with a prospective immigrants preference category, country of chargeability, and priority date. Thepriority dateis used to see an immi-grants place within the visa queue. once the priority date becomes out there or is current, immigrants could also be able to apply for adjustment of status and acquire lawful permanent resident status, if otherwise eligible.

Usually, the cut-off dates on the Visa Bulletin move forward in time, however not continuous-ly. Demand for visa numbers by applicants with a variety of priority dates can fluctuate from one month to a different, with an inevitable impact on cut-off dates. Such fluctuations will cause cut-off date movement to slow, stop, or perhaps Visa retrogression. Visa retrogres-sionhappens when additional individuals apply for a visa in a specific category or country than there are visas obtainable for that month. Retrogression usually happens toward the end of the financial year as visa issuance approaches the annual category or per-country limitations. Sometimes a priority date that meets the cut-off date one month wont meet the cut-off date next month. Once the new financial year begins on October 1, a new supply of visas is formed available and usually, but not continuously, returns the dates to where they were before retrogression

USCIS will acceptForm I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or adjust status from family-sponsored and an employment-based adjustment of status preference applicants ac-cording to the monthly Visa Bulletin that Dept of State issuing visas at U.S. consulates and embassies.
The monthlyDOS Visa Bulletin summarises the availability of immigrant visas according to:
The Application Final Action Dates (consistent with previous Visa Bulletins) and
The Dates for Filing Applications chart indicating once immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit the specified documentation to the National Visa Canter.
When USCIS determines there are additional immigrant visas obtainable for the financial year than there are known applicants, you may use the Dates for Filing Applications chart to see once to file an adjustment of status application with USCIS. Otherwise, you need to use the application Final Action Dates chart to see after file an adjustment of status with USCIS.
Unless otherwise indicated on www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo, you need to use the Applica-tion Final Action Dates for determining once you will file a Form I-485 with USCIS.
DOS, operating with the Department of Office of Homeland Security, revises the Visa Bulle-tin monthly to estimate immigrant visa availability for prospective adjustment of standing ap-plicants. If DOS makes any changes to either chart within the Visa Bulletin once publication it, USCIS will review those changes and verify if any further action is important. Please browse our webpage to check the most recent dates for filing adjustment of Status applica-tions.

In certain instances, youll file your Form I-485 together, or concurrently, with the underlying Form I-130 or Form I-140immigrant petition. you may at the same time file your Form I-485 only when approval of the underlying immigrant petition would make a visa immediately available to you. If youre an immediate relative, you can always at the same time file your form I-485 application with the underlyingForm I-130.
If youre seeking adjustment of status under a family-sponsored and employment-based pre-ference category, youll at the same time file your Form I-485 with the Form I 130 or Form I-140 only if:
Your priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed within the Application Final Action Dates chart within the monthly Visa Bulletin for your preference category and country of chargeability :
The Visa Bulletin chart indicates C rather than a particular cut-off date, which means that your preferred class and country of chargeability is current and that you may file form I-485 despite the priority date; or
When permissible by USCIS (as described above in Acceptance of Adjustment status Applications), your priority date is sooner than the cut-off date listed within the Dates for Filing Applications chart for your preferred class and country of chargeability.

The Visa Bulletin permits you to examine your place within the immigrant visa queue. The Visa Bulletin provides the foremost recent date for once a visa number is obtainable for the different categories and countries for family-sponsored, employment-based and diversity (lottery) visas.
A visa should be obtainable before youll take one of the final steps within the process of be-coming a lawful permanent resident. as a result of more prospective immigrants want lawful permanent residency than the limited numbers of immigrant visas to allow, not everybody can immediately get an immigrant visa. how long you need to wait depends on your priority date, preference category, and also the country to which the visa will be charged.
If the demand for immigrant visas is more than the availability for a particular immigrant visa preference category and country of chargeability, DOS considers the category and country oversubscribed and should impose a cut-off date to keep the allocation of visas among the statutory limits.
A visa is obtainable to you once your priority date is earlier than the limit shown for your pre-ference category and country of chargeability within the applicable chart within the Visa Bul-letin, as represented above within the Acceptance of Adjustment of status Applications sec-tion.
Example, if the Visa Bulletin shows a date of Dec, 20, 2006 for INDIA in the Family 1st pre-ference category (F1), visas are currently obtainable for immigrants, who have a priority date earlier than Dec, 20, 2006. Generally, the demand for immigrant visas is less than the avail-ability in an exceedingly particular immigrant visa preference category and country of char-geability. During this situation, the Visa Bulletin shows that class as C, which means that immigrant visas are currently or immediately available to all qualified adjustment of status applicants and overseas immigrant visa applicants therein specific preference category and country of chargeability.
If the Visa Bulletin shows U in a class, this means that immigrant visas are temporarily un-available to any or all applicants therein specific preference category and/or country of char-geability.

The date USCIS receives a properly filedemployment-based form I-485 starts the 180-day clock for 204-J portability under the American competitiveness within the 21st Century Act (AC21). If your employment-based form I-485 has been pending for one hundred eighty days or more and you ask for to change to a new job within the same or similar occupational classification, you may submit a request to port to the new job before the final assessment of the form I-485.

Under AC21 -104-C, youre eligible for an extension of H-1B status beyond the six-year H-1B limitation contained in INA -214-G-4 if you are:
The beneficiary of an approved I-140 petition under INA 203-B-1, 2 or 3
Eligible to be granted lawful permanent resident status, however, cannot presently file to adjust status as results of youre a citizen of a country wherever demand exceeds the per-country limitations applicable to immigrants.
To determine if youre eligible to be granted lawful permanent resident status but cannot presently file to adjust status as a result of youre a citizen of a country wherever demand exceeds the per-country limitations applicable to immigrants, USCIS depends upon the Ap-plication Final Action Dates chart of the Visa Bulletin. If your priority date is on or when the cut-off date listed within the Application Final Action Dates chart for your preference catego-ry and country of chargeability, then you may be eligible for an H-1B extension under AC21 -104-C.

Generally, all applicants filing for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident should submit a form I-693, Report of medical examination and Vaccination Record, com-pleted by a designated civil surgeon. you may submit a form I-693 in one amongst the fol-lowing ways:
Together with your Form I-485.- ( BY MAIL)
After filing your Form I-485 (as an example to receiving a Evidence Request (RFE) letter from USCIS asking for Form I-693 report) (BY MAIL)
An interview at USCIS field workplace (if an interview is required)-( IN PERSON )
Because a completed form I-693 has limited validity, if you submit your kind I-693 at a similar time as your form I-485, it may no longer be valid at the time USCIS adjudicates your form I-485. Therefore, so as to avoid having to repeat the immigration medical checkup, you may opt to wait until after receiving an RFE or till an interview to provide your Form I-693.

If youre filing your form I-485 based on a category that includes a visa currently available in line with the Application Final Action Dateor the Dates for Filing Applications chart, you may re-quest that USCIS issue your work and travel authorisation on a single document. This doc-ument is often stated as a combo card. USCIS will issue these combo cards with a one-year validity period, in keeping with current policies and procedures.

USCIS may, in its discretion, honor your request to transfer your pending form I-485 from one eligibility basis to another if you meet certain eligibility necessities. You need to be the bene-ficiary of a pending or approved visa petition within the new category you would like to use. Also, your priority date should be current in the new category and for your country of char-geability on the date you file the transfer, not the initial date that you just filed the Form I-485. Refer to the Application Final Action Date chart within the Visa Bulletin, unless USCIS permits the use of the Dates for Filing Applications chart.

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