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USCIS Permits Early Filings of Adjustment of Status Applications

September 16, 2015

On September 9, 2015, USCIS announced a major change to its process for accepting adjustment of status applications submitted by foreign nationals in the US. To date, foreign nationals have only been able to submit applications when their "priority date" - the customized date on the immigrant visa wait list - became current and available. This has resulted in extreme delays for nationals from countries which have severely backlogged quotas.This change will affect both family and employment based categories.

President Obama's Executive Order released in November 2014 made a number of provisions to alleviate these backlogs. The provisions included expedited processing with ancillary benefits for those with clear paths to permanent residence.

New Employment-Based Visa Bulletin Charts
The US Visa Bulletin issued by the US Department of State will now publish two Employment-Based Visa Bulletin Charts:

1. "Final Action Date" will include information on when visas and permanent residence may finally be issued

2. "Dates for Filing Applications" will indicate the earliest dates when applicants can apply

Benefits for employers and employees
Employees will be able to request employment authorization documents concurrent with Forms I-485, assume secondary employment, and receive advance parole travel permission. Employees' family members can also seek permission to work.

Other revisions:

  • Filing H-1B petition amendments: Previously, when a foreign national's job duties or employment conditions changed, the employer would need to file an H-1B petition amendment. The new rules reduce the need to file amendments when certain employment conditions change.
  • Processing of immigrant visas: The US Department of State revised how immigrant visas are processed at US consular posts abroad. Posts abroad will accept processing for applications earlier to expedite the scheduling of appointments.
  • Monitoring of visa numbers: USCIS will improve the process for issuing permanent residence to foreign nationals including monitoring the number of qualified visa applicants, the number of pending adjustment of status applications and historical drop off rates.

This historical change is driven by the US government's need to streamline its process, attract and retain talented foreign nationals to our shores, help businesses expand, and stay competitive in the global marketplace.

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