Tuesday, October 1, 2019

What is the Visa Bulletin?

The visa bulletin is published every month by the Department of State.  It lets us know what permanent residency applications can move forward based on the “priority date” of the initial petition. You can find the priority date on the I-797 Notice of Action that the petitioner received after filing the I-130 or I-140.

You can apply for permanent residence once your priority date is current, meaning that you priority date is on or before the date on the table.  Once your priority date is current, you only have ONE YEAR to commence the process of applying for permanent residence, either through consular processing or adjustment of status (I-485).

You will notice that the wait times depend on your visa category (type of petition) and your country of citizenship.  You will also notice that there are no wait times for spouses, parents, and unmarried children under 21 of U.S. citizens.  This is because these people are “immediate relatives” of U.S. citizens, and their residency is available immediately.  Although it is “immediate,” processing times take from 4 months to 1.5 years.

The Visa Bulletin is used by our office to estimate the current wait time, as it tells us what applications are currently ready to move forward.  It is not a perfect indicator, as there are times when the dates do not change, and there are even times when the dates move BACK instead of forward.

You can find the most recent Visa Bulletin on the U.S. Department of State’s website, as well as past ones, at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin.html