Immigrant Visa Priority Dates Move Forward
The latest Visa Bulletin issued by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) shows that in June 2007, many more foreign citizens will be eligible to apply for immigrant visas and permanent resident status (the Green Card).
The Department of State publishes a monthly list of current priority dates for each visa category. The list is contained in the monthly Visa Bulletin, which can be viewed online at the DOS website at http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/bulletin/bulletin_1360.html.
The most recent Visa Bulletin shows significant movement in visa numbers in most employment-based visa categories. This includes the third preference category (EB3), which moved forward significantly for worldwide chargeability. All of the categories that were previously current remain current.
The Bulletin includes a note of explanation for the forward movement in the EB3 category - the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) still has significant numbers of cases at the Backlog Processing Centers. In the past, DOS had anticipated that these cases would move through the system quickly, creating a greater demand for visa numbers as beneficiaries became eligible to apply for permanent resident status. Since the DOL backlog has not cleared up as fast as the State Department had anticipated, the DOS moved immigrant visa numbers forward to allow more people to apply for immigrant visas.
Once a visa number is available in the appropriate category, an alien who has filed or has an approved the Immigrant Petition (Form I-140) can move forward in the Green card process. (See related postings on our website regarding the timing of this process.) The employee may file an Application for Permanent Residence or Adjust Status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) once the priority date in the appropriate immigrant visa category is current. Alternatively, the employee may apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad.
We would be glad to discuss related issues with employers regarding changes in the immigrant visa process.
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