What is the Visa Bulletin?

What is Visa Bulletin

The Visa Bulletin informs you when you can apply for a green card after the approval of your immigrant petition (Form I-130 or I-140). Please see below explanation of the Visa Bulletin by our New York immigration lawyer. 

Following the filing of your family-based immigrant petition (I-130) or employment-based immigrant petition (I-140), it is important to review the Department of State’s monthly Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletin informs individuals with an approved I-130 or I-140 immigrant petition when their green card becomes available. Each year, the United States only issues a fixed amount of green cards for each immigrant visa category and for every foreign country. The Visa Bulletin allows applicants to determine their place in line and to estimate how long they have to wait before they can obtain a green card. The waiting period faced by an applicant depends on the demand and availability of green cards in the applicant’s immigrant visa category. 

If you have questions about how the Visa Bulletin may impact your immigration case or if you are unsure when you are eligible to file your green card application, I recommend you contact good immigration lawyer. As part of our immigration lawyer New York services, we regularly file I-140 employment-based immigrant petitions and I-130 family-based immigrant petitions. We closely track the Visa Bulletin every month and file our clients’ green card applications as soon as they are eligible. If you are searching for an “immigration lawyer near me” because you wish to apply for a green card, please contact our New York immigration law office.  

What is the green card application process? 

The Visa Bulletin plays a critical part in the green card application process (officially referred to as adjustment of status process). The green card application process consists of two steps: 

First Step – A qualifying employer or family member must file an I-140 or I-130 immigrant petition for the individual who wishes to become a permanent resident of the United States.

Second Step – Depending on the immigrant visa category, the applicant may be eligible to immediately file for adjustment of status or the applicant may have to wait until a green card is available. 

If you are the beneficiary of an immediate relative petition – reserved for spouses, parents, and unmarried children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens – you may file your green card application immediately because there is no limit to the number of green cards the government may issue in this category. 

The US issues a limited number of immigrant visas in all other immigrant visa categories. If you are the beneficiary of any other employment-based or family-based immigrant petition, you should refer to the Visa Bulletin to determine when you may file your green card application. 

Third Step – If the Visa Bulletin shows that an immigrant visa category is available, you may file your green card application by completing and filing Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status (together with all supporting documents) with USCIS. 

How do I use the Visa Bulletin? 

You may file your green card application when the priority date for your immigrant visa category is current on the Visa Bulletin. 

What is my priority date? Your priority date is the day when your I-130 family-based immigrant petition or your I-140 employment-based immigrant petition was filed by your sponsoring relative or employer.  If you went through the PERM labor certification process, your priority date is the day your labor certification application was filed with the Department of Labor. To learn more about the PERM labor certification process, visit our employment-based green card article

How do I know if my priority date is current? If your priority date is an earlier date than the one listed on the Visa Bulletin under your visa category, then your priority date is considered current. If your priority date is current, you are eligible to file your green card application. 

You can determine if your priority date is current by following these steps: 

First Step – Locate the relevant chart (employment-based or family-based) on the Visa Bulletin depending on the petition type (I-130 or I-140) that was filed on your behalf. 

Second Step – Locate your immigrant visa category which is listed in the first column to your left. 

Third Step – In the same row listing your immigrant visa category locate your country of origin and view the date listed. If your priority date is earlier than the listed date, then you may proceed with filing your adjustment of status application (also referred to as green card application). 

Fourth Step –  If the relevant box for your visa category and country of origin is marked with “C”, which stands for “current”, then your priority date is current and you may file your green card application. 

What is retrogression? 

Visa retrogression occurs when the priority date for a certain immigrant visa category is current one month and in the next Visa Bulletin the same category lists an earlier cut-off date. This happens when the maximum number of immigrant petitions are approved for a certain immigrant visa category. This scenario often arises towards the end of the fiscal year when the government has issued the maximum amount of green cards permitted for a particular category. 

If your priority date is current and you are worried that it may retrogress in the near future, I recommend you speak with an experienced immigration attorney. 

When is the Visa Bulletin Released? 

Every month the Department of State releases a new Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletin is usually published in the second week of the month prior to the month in which the Visa Bulletin takes effect. 

What do the categories mean in the Visa Bulletin? 

The Department of State lists the title for each immigrant visa category in the Visa Bulletin. Please see below explanation from our New York immigration lawyer of what each category on the Visa Bulletin means:   

Family-Based Immigrant Visa CategoriesEmployment-Based Immigrant Visa Categories
F1   – Unmarried sons and daughters (21 or older) of US citizens1st – Priority workers
F2A – Spouses and children of permanent residents 2nd – Members of the professions holding advanced degrees or persons of exceptional ability
F2B – Unmarried sons and daughters (21 or older) of permanent residents3rd – Skilled workers, professionals, and other workers
F3  – Married sons and daughters of US citizens4th – Certain special immigrants
F4  – Brothers and sisters of adult US citizens5th – Employment creation

Our New York immigration lawyer is here to help you with your immigration case

Are you wondering how the Visa Bulletin impacts your immigration case? Do you wish to file a green card application and are wondering about the proper timing? Are you searching for an “immigration lawyer near me”? As an experienced New York immigration law firm, Pandev Law has the knowledge and experience to guide you through your green card case. 

To learn more about our immigration attorney New York services or to schedule a consultation with our New York immigration attorney, please complete our contact form, email admin@pandevlaw.com, or call us at (212) 220-6652

During your consultation, our NYC immigration lawyer will provide an honest assessment of your case, and a recommendation about your next steps. 

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