Author: Jameel Manji, Founder, Manji Law, P.C.
Mr. Manji founded Manji Law in 2016 to follow his passion of helping people navigate the complicated immigration system. Mr. Manji graduated from Georgia State University College of Law and received Master of Taxation from the Georgia State’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Published on: March 09, 2023.
Manji Law is your complete immigration solution. If you are seeking assistance with the Atlanta Immigration Court, please give us a call. Manji Law can provide valuable insight, assistance, and a guiding hand to help you achieve your goals.
What Is a Visa Bulletin?
The Visa Bulletin is a monthly publication made by the US Department of State (DOS) that provides information on the availability of immigrant visas for each family and employment-based preference category.
The bulletin provides priority dates for each category and country of origin, determining when a foreign national with an approved immigrant petition can apply for an immigrant visa or adjust status.
A priority date is a specific date that is assigned to an immigrant visa application when it is received by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or DOS. The priority date is used to determine an individual’s place in the queue for a visa.
The Visa Bulletin is an essential tool for individuals who are interested in immigrating to the United States, are attempting to bring a spouse to the USA, or are sponsored by a US employer. If you need assistance understanding Form I-485 instructions for your adjustment of status application, our highly experienced immigration attorneys can assist you.
How to Check the Applicant’s Priority Date in a Visa Bulletin
To check the priority date in the Visa Bulletin, follow these steps:
- Visit the US Department of State’s website.
- Find the appropriate Visa Bulletin: Look for the latest edition and locate the chart for the specific family or employment-based preference category you are interested in.
- Check the priority date for your category: Find your country of origin in the chart and look for the priority date listed for your category. Priority dates refer to the dates when your immigrant petition was filed, and they represent where you are on the waiting list.
- Compare your priority date to the cut-off date: A cut-off date determines who is eligible to apply for a visa based on their priority date. If your priority date is before the cut-off date listed in the bulletin for your category and country, you are eligible to proceed with your visa application. If your priority date is after the cut-off date, you must wait until your priority date becomes current before you can apply for your visa.
- Check the bulletin regularly: The availability of visas and cut-off dates can vary from month to month, so it’s essential to check the bulletin regularly to stay on top of your eligibility.
How Do You Determine Which Visa Priority Date to Use in a Visa Bulletin?
The priority date for a visa is when the USCIS receives the completed petition from the sponsor. To determine your priority date, check the date on the receipt notice from USCIS for your petition.
Priority Date for Family Visas
The priority date for family-sponsored visas is the date when USCIS receives the completed petition from the sponsor. The Visa Bulletin indicates which priority dates are currently available for processing each type of family-sponsored visa.
The Visa Bulletin lists the availability of visas for four categories of family-sponsored visas, including three categories of family preference:
- Immediate relatives (spouses, minor children, and parents of US citizens)
- Family 1st preference (unmarried adult children of US citizens)
- Family 2nd preference (spouses and minor children of permanent residents)
- Family 3rd preference (married adult children of US citizens)
The bulletin shows two columns for each category: “Dates for Filing Applications” and “Final Action Dates.”
The “Dates for Filing Applications” column indicates when individuals can submit their visa applications to the US embassy or consulate.
The “Final Action Dates” column indicates when the visa petition is expected to be processed and a visa issued or green card granted if applicable.
Remember that the Family Visa Bulletin is subject to change, and it is vital to regularly check the latest bulletin for updates on visa availability.
Contact Manji Law for legal assistance if you are considering applying for family first preference (F1) visas. Our team is eager to assist you and can help you to navigate the immigration process.
It’s Easy to Get Help From Manji Law’s Immigration Lawyers
Immigration issues can be challenging and high-stakes affairs. The best way to ensure your immigration process is handled in a professional manner is to hire a law office with experience dealing with immigration issues, including deportations and appeals.
An EB-5 immigration attorney can assist with immigration and visa issues by:
Advising on the best visa options based on your individual circumstances.
Filing and preparing immigration applications accurately and efficiently.
Representing you in immigration court.
Staying up-to-date on the latest immigration laws and regulations.
Monitoring the monthly Visa Bulletin for any updates on priority dates and visa availability.
Negotiating with immigration authorities on your behalf.
Preparing clients for interviews with immigration officers.
Representing you in visa appeals and deportation proceedings.
We can help you with any immigration issue. Contact Manji Law and schedule a free consultation with an experienced H1B immigration lawyer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Visa Priority Dates Expire?
Priority dates for immigrant visas do not expire. Once assigned to an application, they remain the same throughout the entire visa application process.
However, if the applicant fails to submit their visa application before the cut-off date for their category and country of origin, their application will be considered abandoned, and they will lose their place in the queue. This means that the applicant will need to start over with the visa application process and receive a new priority date based on the date they submit a new application.
Does Every Visa Have a Priority Date?
Priority dates are only relevant for specific visa categories that are limited by law, such as family-sponsored and employment-based visas. Other types of visas, such as non-immigrant visas, do not have priority dates.
What Happens Next After the Priority Date Is Current?
After the priority date becomes current, the next step is to process the individual’s immigration application.
This may include:
Submitting additional documentation and the necessity to submit required documents,
Undergoing a medical examination, and
Attending an interview.
The final step is the issuance of an immigrant visa or adjustment of status to permanent residency.