Who are we talking about?
Family-based applicants for a U.S. green card who fit the following criteria:
- The I-130 filed on their behalf has been approved
- Because of annual numerical limits, they are waiting to file the request to adjust status (form I-485)
What is different?
Usually, USCIS only allows applicants whose priority date is earlier than the final action date of the visa bulletin to file. The final action date is later than the filing date, which means that applicants usually wait longer before they are allowed to file.
Why does it matter to applicants?
1) Some applicants struggle to maintain legal status in the United States, which you need to file for adjustment of status if you are not an immediate relative. Filing earlier helps. 2) Filing the I-485 means that the applicant can also file for work authorization (for work) and advance parole (for travel).
How much earlier are applicants allowed to file?
It depends on their green card category:
Does it mean applicants getting their green card faster?
May be. Applicants who are ‘case complete’ (meaning their application has been reviewed and considered documentarily qualified) can have their interview scheduled (and a decision made about their green card) as soon as their priority date becomes current. Applicants who are allowed to file earlier have a greater chance to be ‘case complete’ by the time their priority date becomes current.
How long will this last?
We do not expect applicants to be able to benefit from this earlier filing date later than December 2017. We are at the beginning of the government’s fiscal year, and it gives U.S. immigration agencies more flexibility.
What about Mexico?
What about the Philippines?