Visa Bulletin Changes & What They Mean

The Visa Bulletin is a monthly publication by the Bureau of Consular Affairs, which is a part of the Department of State. The Visa Bulletin is the ONLY document that can be used to determine when a visa number is available for a person to immigrate to, or adjust status in, the United States.

What Changed on the Visa Bulletin? 

In October 2015, the Visa Bulletin went from one chart to two charts.  The Department of State added a “Dates for Filing Application” table to the Bulletin, in addition to the long-standing “Application Final Action Dates” table.

What Do the Visa Bulletin Updates Mean & Who is Affected? 

  • This is a meaningful change for adjustment of status cases.

Unless it is different on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website, persons in lawful nonimmigrant status in the United States (for example, B-2, F-1, H-1B, H-2B, etc.) are eligible to file for adjustment of status with the USCIS when the “filing date” table shows a “current” priority date, but the “final action date” is not yet “current.”  Between October 2015 and June 2016, the USCIS allowed adjustment of status applicants to use the “filing date” chart.  Today, USCIS requires adjustment of status applicants to use the “final action date” chart.  This may change from month to month.

  • This change is also important for people who are consular processing through a U.S. Embassy in a foreign country.

Previously, immigrant visa applicants had to wait for a visa number to become available in the “final action date” chart to file these important documents because the National Visa Center (NVC) would not accept it beforehand. Now, immigrant visa applicants can file their important paperwork with the NVC when the ‘filing date” table is current in anticipation of their priority date being current on the ‘final action date” chart in the near future.  Before the two chart system, immigrant visa applicants often missed out on visa numbers due to visa number retrogression in a subsequent month because they were unable to provide their required documentation in a timely manner.

This Seems Complicated. Where Do I Begin?

The process is definitely complex, but don’t worry. We are here to help.

The best place to start is by setting up a consultation with the Board Certified immigration attorneys at Shane & Shane. They have assisted countless families and individuals through this process, and helped them take advantage of the new opportunities available with these latest changes.

Contact us today to see how we can help make this process as smooth and simple as possible.