“New Visa Bulletin Instructions that will Cause Uncertainty and Confusion”
10/14/15 By Peter F. Asaad
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that, beginning with the November 2015 Visa Bulletin, we will all need to read the Visa Bulletin with caution and await USCIS to tell us whether to use the “Dates for Filing Applications” chart or the “Application Final Action Dates” chart. This will cause uncertainty since we will not know which chart and dates apply until USCIS makes the determination one week after the Department of State publishes the bulletin.
It helps to first understand that, in the past, we would simply look to the one chart provided on the Department of State Visa Bulletin that gets published each month to clearly see if and when we could file the I-485, Adjustment of Status application. If the cut-off date on the Visa Bulletin precedes your priority date, planning would begin to file your I-485, Adjustment of State application.
Recently, the Visa Bulletin was been modified to provide two charts:
– A Dates for Filing Applications Chart
– An Application Final Action Dates Chart
This initially meant we could look to the “Dates for Filing Applications” to know the relevant cut-off date for filing. That logic has been compromised by a new USCIS announcement providing that there are new instructions on how to read the Visa Bulletin. Predictability, clarity and certainty has been introduced.
New Instruction Beginning with November Visa Bulletin
Due to a new change by USCIS reflected in instructions it has just posted, we must now look to USCIS to determine which of the two charts is effective for the following month approximately one week after the Department of State publishes its Visa Bulletin. USCIS will post that chart on their page: http://www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo. Effectively, you can only rely upon the “Application Final Action Dates” chart unless and until USCIS announces otherwise for that given month.