October 2016 Visa Bulletin – Dates for Filing
In October 2015 the Department of State (DOS) visa bulletin saw significant revisions with the addition of a second chart entitled “Dates for Filing.” The new chart was met with much excitement from foreign nationals who continue to experience significant retrogression as it provided earlier filing dates for adjustment of status applications. These applications carry with them the opportunity to apply for numerous benefits, including advanced parole and employment verification documents. Although the addition of a second chart was seemingly great news, it has provided little relief to date in the long green card wait times.
As discussed in last year’s blog post, the benefits anticipated from significant revisions made to the October 2015 visa bulletin were swiftly reversed by the DOS when they issued a new visa bulletin days before filings could begin. The visa bulletin woes continued as we learned that the new Dates for Filing chart can only be used if USCIS announces they will honor the dates on a monthly basis. Unfortunately, foreign nationals eagerly awaiting each month’s announcement have been continuously disappointed. October of 2016 may finally bring good news. At the AILA Spring Conference, representatives from USCIS indicated they anticipate the agency will honor the Dates for Filing chart in the new fiscal year. Because October will mark the beginning of the 2017 fiscal year companies should consider beginning to look at employees who may be eligible to file if these dates are honored in October.