Do you have a case where a family member has petitioned for you? And you’ve been waiting for your priority date to become current or available? The priority date is the date when your family member filed an I-130 Petition for you (Petition for Alien Relative).
The recent 2015 October Visa Bulletin now features two charts to determine when you can continue to process your case and move you closer to getting intermediary benefits like your work permit. The two charts are (1) The Dates for Filing Visa Applications (the new chart) and (2) the Final Action Dates chart (essentially the old priority date chart). The dates on the first chart allow people with priority dates that fall under that chart to file for Adjustment of Status and along with that the Work Authorization application (aka, EAD/work permit). The Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart theoretically allows you to file sooner than the priority date on your I-130 petition so you can get your work permit, the holy grail for many of my clients. For example, with the work permit in hand, one would not necessarily have to renew H-1B status; if the applicant is undocumented and 245i grandfathered, she could get a work permit, a social security number and if eligible, a driver’s license, to name a couple of benefits.
If you are in the U.S., that means you can file for your green card application (Form I-485) at this time if your priority date is on or before the date listed on The Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart. If you are abroad, then you can begin processing at the National Visa Center once you receive notification.
Let’s take a look at the two charts described above and put this to work. Below are excerpts from the December 2015 Visa Bulletin in the family categories:
APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES (I’m going to call this The Bad Chart, because it takes longer).
|Family-Sponsored||All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed||CHINA-mainland born||INDIA||MEXICO||PHILIPPINES|
DATES FOR FILING FAMILY-SPONSORED VISA APPLICATIONS (Let’s call this The Good Chart, Maybe, and I’ll explain why ‘maybe’ in a minute).
If you compare the Bad Chart to the Good Chart, you can see that in the Good Chart, all of the priority dates are more favorable. For example, I have a client from India whose U.S. Citizen brother petitioned for him January of 2004 (see the F4 category, India, where I’ve highlighted). Well, the Good Chart says that he can file his green card application and work permit now (along with the green card application for his wife and kids). The Bad Chart says that only cases filed on or before March 22, 2003 so under the Bad Chart, my client would not have been able to file his green card application yet.
It’s kind of confusing, right? Now, to add even more confusion to the mix, let me tell you why I called it The Good Chart, Maybe. It’s because you now have to also check uscis.gov to make sure you can use The Good Chart. The good news for family-based cases is that in the month of December, you can use The Good Chart. The bad news for employment-based cases is that you have to use The Bad Chart. But we’ll talk more about that in another follow-up blog post.
It took me a little bit to grasp the concepts of The Good Chart and The Bad Chart, and I’ve been an immigration lawyer for the past 17 years! Does that make me dumb? Maybe it does, but I think what it really means is that this stuff is super confusing and more than a tad bit complicated. Please let us know if you have any questions. We get it now and can help you! If you have a question about a petition filed for you or a family member, please feel free to contact me at 757-464-9224 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tell us your success stories about your filing and getting a work permit with The Good Chart! We’d love to hear from you.
Please note that this article is not intended as legal advice but for educational purposes only.