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What’s going on with the October Visa Bulletin?

Whether you are seeking a green card through family or an employer, the Department of State and US Citizenship & Immigration Services recently made significant changes to the October 2015 Visa Bulletin that may impact you. The Visa Bulletin is issued by the US Department of State monthly to inform applicants where they stand in the green card waiting lines.

Here are 3 things you need to know about the October 2015 Visa Bulletin:

  1. It’s now split into 4 parts allowing many to file their green card early. US Department of State (DOS) issued a revised version of its Visa Bulletin which, for the first time, contained separate “dates for filing” and “final action” subsections for both family and employment green cards with numerical limits. These numerical limits have created waiting lines of several years in many visa categories, but the revisions introduced in the October 2015 Visa Bulletin allow filing at an earlier stage in the green card queue.

  2. The change does not provide a green card faster but it provides benefits of a pending green card sooner. These benefits include obtaining a work permit and travel documents for many applicants, as well as improved job mobility. As a result, some employers and employees can expect reduced expenses and delays because having a work permit and travel document translates to fewer visa renewals in the US and abroad. Significantly, not everyone in the queue will qualify to file early. For example, one has to be present in the US to file the type of green card application that provides work permits. Also, even those present in the US must generally be in valid immigration status unless they fall under a special exception or category that forgives unauthorized employment or lack of valid immigration status.

  3. There are two versions of the October 2015 Visa Bulletin, and the second version is worse. As a result of a US CIS error, DOS issued a second “updated” October 2015 Visa Bulletin which significantly lengthened wait times compared to the initial version. This hugely disappointed many applicants who took steps and incurred expenses to get their applications ready for October 1. Consequently, the second version spurred a class action law suit to demanding DOS reinstate the initial version.

The attorneys at Antonini & Cohen have many years of experience navigating the Visa Bulletin and green card requirements. Contact us to see how this new process affects your case.

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