USCIS to Accept Eligible I-485 Adjustment of Status Applications before Priority Date Becomes Current

On September 9, 2015, USCIS announced a new revision to the Visa Bulletin, which will affect I-485 Adjustment of Status applicants (otherwise known as Green Card applicants). The new revisions implement the November 2014 executive actions taken by President Obama and Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson and detailed in the White House Report, which was issued in July 2015.

Currently, family-based (FB) and employment-based (EB) immigrant visa cases only allow applications to be filed when the priority date is current. On the Visa Bulletin, published every month, the filing date and the final action date are the same. However, USCIS and the Department of State (DOS) are reviewing the procedures to allow family and employment based applicants to submit their application before their priority date becomes current.

This “pre-processing” improvement to the current procedure may begin as early as October 1, 2015. This new filing process will allow family-based and employment-based Green Card applications to be filed months, or even years, before it previously would have been possible. The New Visa Bulletin will have 2 charts. The first chart will list the “Application Final Action Date” – specifying the earliest possible date on which an application may be processed and approved. This chart currently already exists. After October 1, 2015, the Visa Bulletin will also display second chart, a “Dates for filing Applications” – this will list the dates on which applications for adjustment of status can be filed before the Final Action Date (or in other words, the dates on which applicants can file for pre-processing).

This positive change for the adjustment of status application (Form I-485) will allow individuals (who are eligible to file) to also file for their employment authorization (Form I-765) (EAD) and advance parole travel documents (Form I-131) concurrently. These individuals will be able to obtain their employment authorization and travel documents while their I-485 is still pending for review with USCIS. This grants the qualifying immigrants with the authorization to work while they wait for their green card, which may take up to several years. Other benefits of this new change include fewer H1-B and L1 amendments and extensions, as well as the ability of qualifying spouses and children (under 21) to apply for their EADs and travel documents, just to name a few.

USCIS will only start accepting Forms I-485, I-131, and I-765 applications beginning October 1, 2015 at the earliest. Prospective applicants may start the process for filing these forms for themselves and eligible family members.

For further information please visit USCIS.

We will provide further information and updates as more details are released by USCIS.