The U.S. Department of State (DOS) and USCIS have made changes to the monthly issued visa bulletin.  If you review the visa bulletin, you will now notice two charts listing dates for each preference category and country.  The charts are labeled “Application Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications.”

For individuals awaiting consular immigrant visa processing, the chart that you will monitor is the “Application Final Action Dates” chart. This chart is the previously issued priority date chart and determines the date by which the consulate can issue an immigrant visa.  Your priority date must be on or earlier than the date on the “Application Final Action Dates” chart to be processed for issuance of the visa.

If you are inside the U.S. in a non-immigrant visa status and filing for your permanent residency, the “Dates for Filing Applications” chart provides an additional date to monitor which triggers your ability to file the Adjustment of Status Application packet, including applications for the Employment Authorization Document and Advance Parole Travel Document.

If you priority date is on or earlier than the date on the “Dates for Filing Applications” chart, you are eligible to file the Adjustment of Status application.  However, final action (issuance of the permanent residency status) will be withheld until your priority date becomes current under the “Application Final Action Dates” chart.

We anticipate the new chart system will bring much-needed consistency to the visa issuance process, providing DOS and USCIS greater insight into the numbers of persons awaiting visa processing.  DOS and USCIS indicate that the two chart system will reduce the volatility of priority dates, hopefully eliminating the drastic retrogressions after forward movement of priority dates.

All indications from DOS and USCIS lead us to believe that dates will continue to move forward.  More information regarding the change in the visa bulletin can be found at http://www.uscis.gov/news/uscis-announces-revised-procedures-determining-visa-availability-applicants-waiting-file-adjustment-status