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The Visa Bulletin Explained

Individuals can obtain their green cards through different bases, such as through an approved family or employer petition, and through humanitarian programs, such as asylees and refugees. Once the petition is approved, one is only able to adjust status if there is a visa immediately available for them. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, which include spouses, unmarried children under 21 years of age, and parents, are exempt from this restriction. Because the number of visas available for immediate relatives are unlimited, they are eligible for “concurrent filing,” allowing them to file their adjustment of status application together with the family petition. For others, visa numbers are limited and are subject to category- and country-restrictions.

The charts below summarize the October 2015 Visa Bulletin and how it works.
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

Family-based immigration - visa bulletin October 2015

Family-based immigration – Visa Bulletin (October 2015)

Refer to Chart A to check whether a visa is available (and whether you can apply for adjustment of status) by comparing your priority date (date petition was filed) with the dates indicated on your Category and Country of Origin.

Refer to Chart B to check when you can submit your adjustment of status application and be placed on the queue for visa processing.

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

Employment-based immigration - Visa Bulletin (October 2015)

Employment-based immigration – Visa Bulletin (October 2015)

“C” means current, i.e., numbers are authorized for issuance to all qualified applicants; and “U” means unauthorized, i.e., numbers are not authorized for issuance. (NOTE: Numbers are authorized for issuance only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.)

In addition to guidance regarding visa availability and when to submit an adjustment of status application, the charts provide other information. For example, Chart A above shows that DOS is currently not issuing visas for Certain Religious Workers and Regional Center Applicants across the board. However, Chart B indicates that applicants from these categories can now submit their applications (with certain exceptions, such as Chinese Regional Center applicants) and lodge their place in the processing queue.

Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to read the Visa Bulletin. See USCIS infographic regarding the adjustment of status process below.

Adjustment of Status Infographic courtesy of USCIS.

Adjustment of Status Infographic courtesy of USCIS.

The adjustment of status process could be lengthy and complicated. If you are seeking to adjust status and become a permanent resident, it is important to seek the advice of an immigration attorney to evaluate the best course of action and present your case in the clearest and best possible light. For more practical information and legal advice contact Scott Legal, P.C. Call 212-223-2964 or email for a consultation.