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USCIS and DOS Announced Changes to Permanent Residence Application Process

On September 9, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that, in conjunction with the Department of State (DOS), it is revising the procedures for determining when an application for adjustment of status may be filed, and thus implementing part of President Obama’s November 2014 executive actions on immigration.

Starting with the Visa Bulletin for October 2015, there are two important dates listed on the monthly Visa Bulletin:
(1) The “filing date,” which determines when individuals can submit their permanent residence applications; and (2) The “final action” date, which indicates when DOS or USCIS can make a decision on the applications.

If you have a “priority date” earlier than the listed “filing date” for your particular visa category and country, you will be able to file your application for permanent residence earlier than you would have been allowed under the old process. However, you will have to wait for the “final action” date to become current before permanent residence can be approved.

Applicants in the United States who are subject to the visa backlogs will be able to receive employment authorization and travel documents while awaiting final action on their cases.

Applicants for immigrant visas abroad who have a priority date earlier than the “filing date” listed, may assemble and submit required documents to the DOS’s National Visa Center (NVC), following receipt of notification from the NVC containing detailed instructions.

Please contact our office if you have any questions about the changes or need assistance in filing a permanent residence application.

For more information on the changes, please go to USCIS’s website. Information is also available on the DOS’s website.