Further changes have been made to the November Visa Bulletin published earlier this month by the Department of State. The dual chart system remains in place including the ‘final action date’ chart and ‘date of filing’ chart. So what has changed? USCIS has become more involved in the application process for family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant applications since the introduction of the date of filing chart. A disclaimer has now been added to the November Visa Bulletin above the date of filing chart which instructs applicants to visit the USCIS website for more instructions on how and when the chart is to be used. USCIS has created this new web page to notify applicants whether they can proceed with applications for permanent residence based on the date of filing chart published monthly on the Visa Bulletin. The website will be updated within about a week of the publication of the Visa Bulletin every month. The webpage is intended to provide applicants information in regards to visa availability for family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant visas for each fiscal year, letting applicants know whether the filing date chart is enforceable. So far, USCIS has indicated that the filing date chart for October and November 2015 is enforceable.
We will need to see how the dual chart system will play out within the next couple of months, until then continue to check out blog for updates. At this time it seems that the Department of State and USCIS are not in close communication with one another in regards to the date of filing chart.
Recently, the American Immigration Lawyers Association reached out to the Visa Control and Reporting Division branch of the Department of State for more information on these changes. Estimated projections suggest that the final action dates for EB-2 India will move forward from May 1, 2005 to August 1, 2006 and progression is expected to continue. Filing dates provided on the Visa Bulletin are estimates of where the cut-off dates will fall in the future. The Department of Homeland Security and Department of State must work together to clearly define the cut-off dates based on visa availability estimates. Thus far, clear guidance has not been provided at the expense of many immigrants.
If you have any questions about the newly introduced dual chart system please contact us.