Visa bulletin

The DOS Visa Bulletin, issued monthly by the US Department of State (DOS), holds significant importance in the issuance of family and employment-based immigrant visas. Let’s demystify essential terms and concepts, empowering you to track your visa application efficiently.

What is the DOS Visa Bulletin?

The DOS Visa Bulletin serves as a vital tracking mechanism for the yearly allocation of family and employment-based immigrant visas. Monthly updates provide applicants with current processing times at consulates and embassies, aiding in the submission of Form I-485 Adjustment applications with USCIS.

Understanding Your “Priority Date”

Your ‘Priority Date’ is critical. It becomes ‘current’ if it is earlier than the date listed under your preference category on the visa bulletin or if the bulletin states a ‘C’ for current.

Deciphering the “Final Action Date”

The ‘Final Action Date’ indicates when an immigrant visa number becomes available for a foreign national with a current priority date that month. The visa or green card issuance hinges on the applicant’s priority date being earlier than the listed Final Action Date.

Exploring “Dates for Filing Applications”

‘Dates for Filing Applications’ represents the earliest dates for green card applicants to apply for adjustment of status via USCIS Form I-485. The National Visa Center (NVC) uses these dates to notify applicants when their cases are ready for processing.

Preference Categories Demystified

Family-based immigrant visas and employment-based immigrant visas fall into various preference categories. Immediate relatives of US citizens are not subject to the visa bulletin, while others fall into defined quotas based on preference categories and percentages.

Country Considerations on the Visa Bulletin

Your country of birth, not citizenship, determines your filing date and final action dates on the visa bulletin. In specific scenarios, leveraging your spouse’s country of birth may expedite your green card approval.

Determining Your Place in Line

Compare your priority date with the date listed on the visa bulletin for your preference category to determine your place in line. A simple date calculation can estimate your wait time.

Filing for Adjustment of Status

If you are inside the US with valid immigration status, file Form I-485 Adjustment of Status with USCIS once your priority date is earlier than the date listed under “Dates for Filing Applications.” Cross-verifying both the DOS Visa Bulletin and USCIS Adjustment of Status Filing chart before filing is recommended.

Decipher the DOS Visa Bulletin to navigate the immigration process with confidence and clarity.


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