Now many immigrants can apply for a Green Card before their priority dates

USCIS has announced revised procedures for determining Visa Availability for those waiting for their priority dates to become current so they can file for Adjustment of Status using I-485. The changes will take effect on October 1, 2015.

This is great news for thousand beneficiaries of family-based and employment-based petitions who were waiting for their priority dates to become current. Starting on October 1st, many of them would be able to apply earlier and receive an Employment Authorization and Advance Parole to stay and work in the United States while their Application for Adjustment of Status (I-485) is pending.

If you would like to apply for a Green Card before your priority date becomes current, contact Los Angeles Immigration Center and our experience attorneys can assist you.

The new changes will affect immigrants in all priority categories and will make the process of obtaining a Green Card much faster. Here is how it works:

The Old System

Under the old system, applicants that wanted to file their I-485 for Adjustment of Status based on a family-based or employment-based immigration petition had to wait for their priority date to become current before they could file their I-485. This left a lot of applicants in limbo as they would have to wait years before their priority date became current and for many, this meant they could not work in the U.S. because they did not otherwise qualify for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

For instance, the priority dates for October 2015 are as follows:

Family-based categories:

First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens.
Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents:
A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents;
B. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents.
Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens.
Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens.

Employment-based categories:

First: Priority Workers.
Second: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability.
Third: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers.
Fourth: Certain Special Immigrants.
Fifth: Employment Creation.

The New System

Under the new system, the government will now accept applications for I-485s BEFORE the priority dates become current based on a second Visa Bulletin schedule (Schedule B). If your priority date meets the cutoff for the Schedule B, you can apply for your I-485 and receive an EAD and Advance Parole (AP) without having to wait for your priority date to become current to receive your Green Card.

Family-based categories:

Please see the explanation of the categories above.

Employment-based categories:

Please see the explanation of the categories above.

As you can see, all cutoff dates on Schedules B are much closer in time than the priority dates listed above. Check your date to see if you qualify to apply earlier.

If you do not meet the cutoff in October, please check our news section or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn for future updates.

Contact Los Angeles Immigration Center for More Information.

If you have questions on how this new change will affect you or how to apply for your Green Card earlier, it is best to contact the Los Angeles Immigration Center and we can discuss your case.

To schedule a consultation with a Los Angeles Immigration Attorney, please call (310) 933-4455 or fill out our online form with a brief description of your situation.