Articles Posted in F2A

One of the most common questions that we receive from applicants who are applying for a green card is what happens when your priority date becomes current?

In this video we will discuss what it means for a priority date to become current, and the general steps that you need to take once this happens.


What is a priority date?


First let’s clarify what a “priority date” is. A priority date is a legal term used in immigration law which generally refers to the date when your immigrant petition was filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

A “priority date” is important because it determines your place in line in the visa queue for those preference categories that are subject to annual numerical visa limitations. As we have mentioned in previous videos, the Visa Bulletin is published every month and allows applicants to estimate how long they need to wait in “line” before they are eligible to apply for their green card based on their preference category and country of nationality.


Family Sponsored Preference Categories


If you are applying for a green card under family sponsorship and you are not applying as the spouse, unmarried child (under 21 years of age), or parent of a U.S. Citizen, then you must wait in “line” in the visa queue until a visa becomes available to you before you can apply for a green card, according to your priority date on the Visa Bulletin.

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In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the grim outlook of the December Visa Bulletin. While we had hoped to see more forward movement for the month of December, very little changes can be seen when compared to the previous month.

However, we hope that this video will be useful in providing some of our predictions for the Visa Bulletin in the coming months.


Adjustment of Status Filing Chart December 2023


As in the previous few months, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will continue to use the Dates for Filing chart in the month of December to determine eligibility for I-485 adjustment of status filings (green card filings inside the US).


What Changes Can Be Seen Next Month?


Sadly, the Dates for Filing Charts for both the employment-based and family-sponsored categories remain identical to those from the month of November. The Final Action Dates for family sponsored categories also remain identical to the previous month.

The only forward-movement that can be seen is in the Final Action Dates chart for EB-2 China which will advance by three weeks to October 22, 2019, and EB-3 China which will advance by three weeks to January 22, 2020. All other countries will remain the same.

In other news, the EB-4 Non-Minister Religious Worker program will become unavailable for all countries in December until it is reauthorized by legislation.

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If you are applying for an immigrant visa through Consular processing, you will encounter the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC is an agency located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, that is responsible for pre-processing your application after your immigrant petition has been approved by USCIS. The agency functions as an intermediary to collect further documentation from you before your interview can be scheduled at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas.

In this video, Jacob Sapochnick discusses what can happen when the National Visa Center closes your case when no action has been taken.


Overview


What should you do if the NVC closes your case?


It is important to understand that once your petition has been approved by USCIS, your case will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). When your priority date is current on the Visa Bulletin, and a visa number is available, the NVC will contact you to collect certain documentation to continue processing your case. This includes the submission of various civil documents such as photocopies of your birth certificate, marriage certificate, military records, police clearance certificates, payment of your visa fee, etc.

If you ignore or do not reply to requests from NVC to submit your documentation within one year of receipt, the NVC can terminate your case under section 203(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which can lead to your case being destroyed and potentially losing your priority date.

Your priority date is essentially your place in line for a green card. Losing your priority date would have devastating consequences, especially for preference categories with extremely long wait times because you would lose your place in line and have to start the immigration process all over again.

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Are you applying for an immigrant visa (green card) or fiancé(e) visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad? Then you won’t want to miss the important tips we share in this video.

One of the most important pieces of evidence you will need to take to your visa interview is a police clearance certificate from your country of nationality to prove that you do not have a criminal record.

While the process of obtaining a police clearance certificate may seem simple enough, it is very important to know how to properly request one to avoid delays following your interview.

To know more about this topic, please keep on watching!


Overview


What is a Police Clearance Certificate?


A police clearance certificate is an official government document typically issued by a state police agency that documents any arrests for an individual, while that person was living in a particular area.

Those who are applying for an immigrant visa (green card) while living abroad, as well as K-1 fiancé(e) visa applicants, are required to submit a police certificate, issued by a police authority, from all countries where they have lived in the past, even if they have no criminal record in any of those countries.

Applicants with a criminal history must discuss their criminal record with an immigration attorney to determine if they are admissible to the United States.

Note: if you are applying for adjustment of status (green card) inside of the United States, you do not need to provide a police clearance certificate. Instead, you must provide any arrest records.

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Are you interested in learning about the green card wait times for family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories subject to the annual limits?

If so, then we invite you to watch this video about the newly released October 2023 Visa Bulletin. This is a Visa Bulletin you won’t want to miss because October is the start of a brand new fiscal year. The Department of State has confirmed that there will be an estimated 165,000 employment-based visa numbers allocated in fiscal year 2024, which ends on September 30, 2024.

USCIS has confirmed that it will accept adjustment of status applications filed in the month of October pursuant to the Dates for Filing chart for both family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories.

The October Visa Bulletin Dates for Filing chart shows advancement from last month for all employment-based categories except EB-3 worldwide, Mexico, and Philippines which will retrogress by 3-4 months; EB-1 India will also retrogress by two months.

The Dates for Filing chart for the family-sponsored categories remains unchanged from last month.


Highlights of the October 2023 Visa Bulletin


Here are some of the highlights of the October 2023 Visa Bulletin which marks the start of the new fiscal year 2024.

Employment Based Categories


Final Action cutoff dates:

  • EB-1: will advance by five years for India to January 1, 2017, and by two weeks for China to February 15, 2022. All other countries will be current in October.
  • EB-2: will advance by one year to January 1, 2012, for India, and by almost three months for China to October 1, 2019. All other countries will advance by one week to July 8, 2022, in October.
  • EB-3:  EB-3 Professional/Skilled Worker will advance by three years and four months for India, to May 1, 2012, and by four months for China to January 1, 2020. All other countries will advance by one year and seven months to December 1, 2021.
  • EB-5: For EB-5 Unreserved categories (C5, T5, I5, and R5) India will advance by one year and eight months to December 15, 2018, and by three weeks for China to October 1, 2015. All other countries will be current in October. The EB-5 set aside categories (Rural, High Unemployment, and Infrastructure) will also be current in October.

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Want to know why the immigrant visa backlog is still a big issue in 2023? Then you won’t want to miss this blog post, where attorney Jacob Sapochnick tells you all you need to know about the visa backlogs.


Overview


So, you’ve filed your green card application and now your case is stuck in the backlogs. In this video we discuss what the green card backlog is and why it is still happening in 2023.


What is a green card backlog?


A green card backlog occurs when there have been significant delays in the processing and approval of applications for adjustment of status to permanent residency (also known as green card applications filed with USCIS) and/or immigrant visa applications awaiting interview scheduling at U.S. Consulates and Embassies abroad.

While the backlog has always existed to some extent, mandatory quarantines and social distancing protocols occurring during the Coronavirus pandemic worsened delays in green card processing. Additionally, the annual numerical limits for family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories limit the number of green cards that can be issued every year, therefore causing delays among millions of applicants who must wait for their “priority date” to become current on the Visa Bulletin, before becoming eligible to apply for their green card. For many of these categories, demand for visas far exceeds the number of available visas which causes a backlog of applicants waiting for their turn at the front of the line.

Furthermore, the Immigration and Nationality Act imposes a per-country limit on the number of green cards that can be issued by country of nationality. Therefore, applicants from countries that experience a high demand for visas such as India, China, Mexico, and the Philippines have much longer wait times when compared to other foreign nationals.

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In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick provides a brand-new update regarding the current Immigrant Visa backlogs for those currently going through Consular processing (waiting for an interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas), as well as those with cases at the National Visa Center.

What you need to know is that from the period of June to July 2023, there has been nearly no movement in the Immigrant Visa backlog. At the same time, there has been a decrease in the number of people who were actually scheduled for Immigrant Visa interviews at U.S. Consulates and Embassies overseas from June to July as indicated in the figures below.

Therefore, while the backlog remains the same, more and more people are being scheduled for visa interviews.

If you want to know what you can expect moving forward, please keep on watching.

Did you Know? Every month the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) publishes an Immigrant Visa Backlog report, which provides data and statistics relating to the current status of worldwide visa operations, including the number of documentarily complete immigrant visa cases currently at the National Visa Center waiting for interviews, the number of cases that were scheduled for interviews at the end of each month, and the number of immigrant visa cases still waiting to be scheduled for a visa interview after interview appointment scheduling was completed at the end of each month


Overview


According to the National Visa Center’s Immigrant Visa Backlog Report for the month of July 2023, there has been a very modest increase in the immigrant visa (IV) backlog rising from 351,337 pending cases in June to 351,821 pending cases in July.

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Want to know all about the August 2023 Visa Bulletin? Then you’ve come to the right place.

In this video, we share with you the latest movement in the family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories for the month of August.

There will be significant retrogression of the final action date in the EB-1 India preference category by 10 years and 1 month to January 1, 2012.

Additionally, a final action cutoff date for all countries in the EB-1 category, except China, will be imposed at August 1, 2023.

The EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers final action date will also retrogress by 1 year and 9 months to May 1, 2020, except for India which will remain at January 1, 2009, and China which will advance by 2 months to June 1, 2019.

In the family-sponsored categories, the dates for filing cutoff dates remain the same as the previous month, except F-1 Mexico which will advance by 2 years and 3 months to April 1, 2005, and F2B Mexico which will advance by 2 years and 4 months to August 1, 2004.


Here are some of the highlights of the August 2023 Visa Bulletin starting with the family-sponsored categories.


Employment-based categories Highlights


*Final Action cutoff dates – Retrogressions in August:

For employment-based preference categories, adjustment of status applicants must use the Final Action Dates chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for August 2023.

  • EB-1 India will retrogress by more than 10 years to January 1, 2012
  • EB-1 Worldwide, China:
    • The State Department has imposed a final action cutoff date for EB-1A Worldwide for all countries except China, at August 1, 2023.
    • The EB-1 China Final Action Date will remain at February 1, 2022.
  • EB-2 Worldwide, China:
    • EB-2 China will advance by one month, to July 8, 2019.
    • The Final Action Date for EB-2 India will remain at January 1, 2011.
    • The EB-2 Worldwide Final Action Date will advance by six weeks, to April 1, 2022, for all other countries.
  • EB-3:
    • The Final Action Date for EB-3 China Professional/Skilled Worker will advance by two months, to June 1, 2019.
    • EB-3 India Professional/Skilled Worker will remain at January 1, 2009.
    • For all other countries, the EB-3 Professional/Skilled Worker Final Action Date will retrogress by almost two years, to May 1, 2020.

Prediction: We predict that by October 2023 the EB-1 final action dates will advance significantly, depending on usage and on the FY 2024 annual numerical limit which will reset in October (the start of the fiscal year).

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In this video, and just like every month we cover the movement in the family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories of the July 2023 Visa Bulletin.

We are seeing some big advancements in the family-sponsored categories next month, as well as some retrogressions in the final action dates for the employment based third preference category (EB-3) for all countries except China.

Before we jump into our analysis, let’s first go over some of the highlights of the July 2023 Visa Bulletin starting with the family-sponsored categories.


Family-sponsored categories Highlights


*Dates for Filing cutoff dates – Advancements in July:

  • F-1 Mexico will advance by 1 month
  • F-1 China, India, World will advance by 8 months
  • F2B Mexico will advance by 3 months
  • F3 China, India, World will advance by 3 weeks
  • F4 China and World will advance by 1 month
  • F4 Mexico will advance by 2 weeks

Final Action cutoff dates – Advancements in July:

  • F1 Mexico will advance by 3 weeks
  • F2B Mexico will advance by 2 months
  • F3 China, India, World will advance by 2 weeks
  • F3 Mexico will advance by 2.5 months
  • F4 China and World will advance by 2 weeks

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Are you going through the immigrant visa process, waiting for your interview to be scheduled at a Consulate or Embassy overseas? Then this video is right for you. We will provide the latest updates including which Consular posts are open, their processing times, and which posts are experiencing long wait times as of June 2023.


Overview


Embassies and Consulates around the world are beginning to ramp up their processing of immigrant visas, with the hiring of additional personnel to reduce the visa backlogs.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, immigrant visa cases have been warehoused at the National Visa Center (NVC) while awaiting interview scheduling at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad. Due to the high demand for visa interviews, most Consular posts have not been able to accommodate the majority of applicants who are still waiting for their appointments to be scheduled.

Unfortunately, the National Visa Center (NVC) is not able to forward cases to Embassies and Consulates until they have received confirmation that the post has available interview slots.

This is the case even if your case is documentarily qualified and even if your priority date is current on the Visa Bulletin. Your case cannot be forwarded to the Embassy or Consulate until they have confirmed that an interview slot is available for you.

On the other hand, if your case has not been documentarily qualified (meaning all documentation has been received by the NVC), or your priority date is not current on the Visa Bulletin, then your case will not be scheduled for an immigrant visa interview.

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