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Important Updates About The Last Steps Toward Permanent Residence

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Now, people otherwise eligible and present in the U.S. can file for “adjustment of status” and obtain interim work and travel documents significantly earlier than when their place in the queue for limited numbers is set for green card approval.

As part of the “Executive Actions on Immigration” initiated by President Obama last year, USCIS and the Department of State (DOS) announced two significant changes:

  1. The separate set of “qualifying dates” previously used by DOS to encourage visa applicants to queue up early are now renamed “Dates for Filing Applications”. These dates will still be published monthly in each Visa Bulletin.
  2. The use of those “filing dates” will be opened to applicants for adjustment of status within the U.S.

In detail, someone who is the “principal beneficiary” (main sponsoree) of an approved or even pending petition and whose priority date is now earlier than the published “filing date” can file for adjustment of status, if otherwise eligible, even though the priority date is still later than the published cut-off date, now called the “final action date.”

What Does this Actually Mean?

In essence, many people in the green card process who would have had to maintain temporary status in the U.S. and later file for adjustment can now proceed to file adjustment of status. Upon filing, they will be eligible to receive unrestricted work authorization and permission for international travel.

“Based on the October Visa Bulletin, Indian nationals under the second preference employment-based category and Chinese nationals who filed Direct EB-5’s as well as spouses of permanent residents who filed under the second preference family-based category are all positively affected by this change,” said Attorney Roger Bernstein.

We Are Here to Help

There are still many unanswered questions and issues to be resolved such as those that affect age out protection. Bernstein Osberg-Braun is here to help in your determination of how these new procedures will impact your status.