New Visa Bulletin Format Explained


Finally a Positive Change!!!

USCIS, in coordination with Department of State (DOS), revised the procedures for determining visa availability to align with the procedures DOS uses at U.S. consulates and embassies abroad. What this means in plain English is that the Visa Bulletin will be more accurate and predictable, with less volatile priority date movement. The DOS, who is responsible for issuing the Visa Bulletin, will be able to more accurately predict overall immigrant visa demand and determine the cut-off dates for visa issuance published in the Visa Bulletin. This will help ensure that the maximum number of immigrant visas are issued annually as intended by Congress, and minimize month-to-month fluctuations in Visa Bulletin final action dates. These changes are consistent with November 2014 executive actions on immigration announced by President Obama and Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson, as detailed in the White House report, Modernizing and Streamlining Our Legal Immigration System for the 21st century, issued in July 2015.

Which New Visa Bulletin Chart Do I Use?

The Visa Bulletin will now have two different charts because of the revised procedures. DOS will post two charts per visa preference category in the DOS Visa Bulletin. The charts are:

  • Application Final Action Dates (dates when visas may finally be issued); and
  • Dates for Filing Applications (earliest dates when applicants may be able to apply).

When USCIS determines there are immigrant visas available for the filing of additional adjustment of status applications, the Dates for Filing Applications chart may be used to determine when to file an adjustment of status application with USCIS.  Otherwise, the Application Final Action Dates chart must be used to determine when to file an adjustment of status application with USCIS. USCIS will post the relevant chart to use each month here.

How Is Visa Availability Determined?

USCIS considers several factors to determine if there is a greater supply of visas than the demand for those visas. To determine visa availability, USCIS will compare the number of visas available for the remainder of the fiscal year with:

  • Documentarily qualified visa applications reported by DOS;
  • Pending adjustment of status applications reported by USCIS; and
  • Historical drop off rate of applicants for adjustment of status (for example, denials, withdrawals and abandonments).

How to Use the New Visa Bulletin

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