What is the Visa Bulletin?

Immigration law sets limits on the number of immigrant visas such as green cards or permanent residence that can be issued each year. There has been a backlog of visas because the demand has outweighed the supply of visa numbers. The number of visas available depends on the preference category the relationship falls in. There is one category for family visas and one for employment-based visas. These get subdivided into subcategories. When one files a petition (either family based or employment based) you will receive a priority date. This is the date that someone will look to the visa bulletin to see if this date matches the date for their subcategory. Each month the Department of State releases a Visa Bulletin that lists the priority dates. Once the dates match, you can then file for your residency.

It wasn’t until October of last year that the Visa Bulletin allows you to file for residency early. By early, I mean before your priority date becomes current. The first chart of the respective category shows current priority dates. There is now a second chart showing when you can file your application meaning when your priority date is the same or earlier than the date on the second chart, you can file your application. If you think your priority date is either current on either the first chart or second or if you have any questions, come see me to discuss your case.

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