March 25, 2019

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Department of State Creates Separate Categories for Visa Cut-Off Dates

Starting with the October 2015 Visa Bulletin, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have announced that certain individuals in the permanent residence (green card) process will be able to file the last step of the process, the application for adjustment of status, form I-485, even if their priority date is not current. The impact is significant particularly for Chinese and Indian nationals who have faced significant backlogs, as much as 10 years in some cases, before becoming eligible to file the I-485, adjustment of status, petition.

What all this means is that although applicants can file and pay the filing fees years before the priority date is expected to become current, adjustment of status petitions will not be eligible for adjudication (final action) until the original priority date listed on the approval notice for the I-140 Immigration Petition becomes available. There will still be a long wait for the green card, but applicants will receive the benefits of employment authorization and adjustment portability.

The employment-based categories most impacted by the October Visa Bulletin are:

    EB-2 India: Final Action Date = 5/1/05; Filing Date = 7/1/11
    EB-3 Philippines: Final Action Date = 1/1/07; Filing Date = 1/1/15
    EB-2 China: Final Action Date = 1/1/12; Filing Date = 5/1/14
    EB-3 China: Final Action Date = 10/15/11; Filing Date = 10/1/13

Additional guidance will be forthcoming after a briefing session by USCIS next week. Any affected employees should consider beginning to prepare their documents. This is a developing situation with a number of issues to be resolved.

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About this Author

Mariana Richmond, Barnes Thornburg Law firm, Indianapolis, Labor Law Attorney

Mariana Richmond is a partner in the Corporate Department in the Indianapolis, Indiana office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP and heads the Immigration Practice Group. She is a member of the Global Services Practice Group and limits her practice to immigration law, serving corporate as well as individual clients. Ms. Richmond assists multinational corporations with the transfer and hiring of foreign nationals for their operations in the United States on a temporary or permanent basis. She advises in-house counsel and human resources administrators who need guidance on immigration matters...

M. Mercedes Badia-Tavas, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Chicago, Immigration, Labor and Employment Law Attorney

M. Mercedes Badia-Tavas is a partner in the Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg, where she is a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Law Department and the Immigration and Global Mobility Services Practice Group. Ms. Badia-Tavas concentrates on immigration and naturalization law, focusing on immigration matters for Fortune 500 companies and small businesses. She regularly counsels clients on the employment of foreign nationals, the permanent residency process, and immigration compliance issues.

Prior to joining Barnes & Thornburg, Ms. Badia-Tavas owned her own legal practice, Badia-Tavas Law Group, Ltd. As the founding partner of Badia-Tavas Law Group, Ms. Badia-Tavas represented U.S. corporations and foreign individuals throughout the U.S. with employment visas and in the permanent residency process.

Ms. Badia-Tavas is on the Executive Board of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Chicago Chapter, and a member of AILA’s Congressional Advocacy and several government Liaison Committees. In addition, she is a member of the American Bar Association-International Section, the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois and the UNO Metropolitan Leadership Institute of Chicago.