US immigration Visa application & passport
US immigration Visa application & passport

Yesterday, officials at U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the procedures for evaluating visa availability have been updated in order to better coordinate efforts with the U.S. Department of State (DOS).

Specifically impacting people waiting to file for employment-based visas or family-related visas, the revised process “will enhance DOS’s ability to more accurately predict overall immigrant visa demand and determine the cut-off dates for visa issuance published in the Visa Bulletin,” USCIS has explained. The intent to make sure that maximum number of visas available are being issued each year, as federal lawmakers intended, and that official visa reports are more accurate (due to minimizing their fluctuating numbers).

Background on the Visa Bulletin

The Visa Bulletin is a monthly publication issued by the DOS to inform the public about how many visas remain available to prospective applicants, based on their priority date (i.e., the date on which the petition for an employment-based or family-based visa was filed on behalf of the applicant).

Effectively, this reference guide is meant to help “eligible applicants” understand when they can move forward to take the final steps in becoming permanent residents of the U.S. If the newly announced procedural updates are successful, this could end up meaning that applicants have more accurate information regarding both the number of available visas and the time at which they can start moving their status adjustment request forward.

The Specific Procedural Changes Applicants Should Be Aware Of

The specific changes that will be implemented for the DOS Visa Bulletin include the addition of two new charts, one of which will provide clear details regarding Application Final Action Dates and the other of which will feature Dates for Filing Applications.

The information contained in these charts will be updated month to month to ensure that prospective applicants are getting accurate info about visa availability ASAP. USCIS has more info about these updates here.

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