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Sunday, October 18, 2015

October & November 2015 Visa Bulletins

On September 9, 2015, the DOS published the October 2015 Visa Bulletin with two charts per each family- and employment-based visa preference category instead of the usual single chart. The two charts now include: (1) the first chart, Application Final Action Dates (“Final Action Date”) and (2) the second chart, Dates for Filing Applications (“Filing Date”). On September 25, 2015, the DOS published a revised October 2015 Visa Bulletin, rolling back some of the dates on the second chart, "Filing Date." The first chart is the same chart which has been published on all prior Visa Bulletins, which listed cut-off dates. The second chart has long been used by the DOS for internal processing purposes, which set the “qualifying dates” for consular processing cases. The DOS has historically set “qualifying dates” for the purpose of sending out “agent of choice” letter for applicants who will consular process and allow applicants to submit the necessary documents for their immigrant visa applications so that they can be considered “documentarily qualified” or ready to adjudicate once their priority date is reached.

Immigrant visa applicants, specifically consular processing applicants, can always use the “Filing Date” chart. Applicants with priority dates earlier than the date listed on the "Filing Date" chart for their preference category and country of chargeability will be notified by the National Visa Center that they may assemble and submit their documentation and begin the immigrant visa application process. However, a final decision on the immigrant visa application cannot take place until the priority date is current (i.e., priority date is earlier than the "Final Action Date").

In general, USCIS will continue to follow the “Final Action Date” chart for the acceptance of adjustment of status applications. However, if USCIS determines that there are additional visas available, it may exercise its discretion to accept adjustment of status applications in accordance with the "Filing Date" chart. Each month, USCIS will post at http://www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo to inform applicants whether USCIS will accept adjustment applications during the upcoming month in accordance with the "Filing Date" chart. For the months of October and November, USCIS has agreed to permit both family- and employment-based immigrants to use the "Filing Date" chart to file adjustment of status applications.





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