The Immigration and Nationality Act allows the change of an individual’s immigration status from nonimmigrant to immigrant if all the requirements for a green card are met. This process is called an adjustment of status and it allows a person in the United States to obtain permanent resident status without having to return to their country of origin.
An individual seeking to adjust their status, or an experienced New Jersey immigration attorney, can refer to the Visa Bulletin to decide when it is appropriate to file such a request. For those who are not familiar with the Visa Bulletin, it consists of a chart which allows an individual to look in the first column for the type of visa that is required, such as an I-130 family-sponsored visa or an I-140 employment-based visa.
In the next column, an individual can search their country of origin to determine if a date is listed as current, and therefore designated with the letter “C”. In that instance, it is the appropriate time to file an adjustment of status request. It is important for all applicants to note that a “C” or current designation for one month does not necessarily mean that the same designation will be provided in subsequent months.
It is also possible to review the chart under the country of origin to determine if the priority date, usually the date a relative or employer filed for an immigration visa, is earlier than in the chart. A priority date may move back to an earlier date on the chart when the annual limit for a visa category is anticipated to be filled. This priority date is important as it establishes a virtual line for an immigrant visa which can last years or even decades.
Visa Bulletin Filing Dates
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determined that, for purposes of adjustment of status, it will not be bound by the State Department but will instead decide which chart to use from the Visa Bulletin every month. In September of 2016, the USCIS provided that they would access the “Dates for Filing” chart for nearly all adjustment of status requests made in October 2016. That same determination was made in October as it relates to adjustment of status requests made in November 2016.
It was also announced in October 2016 that Visa Bulletin Filing Dates will be used for Adjustment of Status for family-based petitions and limited employment-based petitions. Because this information can and will change on a monthly basis, it is important to consult an immigration lawyer to confirm the earliest possible time for you to file for an adjustment of status and therefore preserve your place in the virtual line to receive a visa.
An adjustment of status application is also important to the extent that an applicant receives interim benefits while the application remains pending, including:
- Work permits
- Travel permits
Let HCK, P.A. Help
Immigration matters are almost always complicated and can be deeply emotional, not only for applicants but for members of their extended families as well. An immigration attorney at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. can review the specifics of your case and determine the appropriate time and procedure for requesting an adjustment of status on your behalf.