Exciting news from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of State (DOS) this week. The agencies announced that beginning with the visa bulletin effective October 1, 2015, USCIS will accept for filing I-485 applications to adjust status to Permanent Resident according to a separate filing date chart.

How does this new chart work?

This new filing date chart will be published in DOS’s Visa Bulletin alongside the usual chart outlining which Priority Dates are current and therefore eligible for adjudication that month. This change applies to both Family Based (“FB”) and Employment Based (“EB”) immigrant visa cases. The adjudication of all I-485 applications will still be subject to the same per country and per category quotas, and therefore backlogs for those oversubscribed countries and categories.

USCIS and DOS believe that this dual- “Date for Filing”/ “Final Action Date” chart system will make for more accurate calculation of those cases in the pipeline and of the resulting cut-off dates.

What Does This Mean for Me?

If your Priority Date is before the date in the relevant category on the new “Dates for Filing”/ “B” Priority Date Chart, then you will be able to file your I-485 adjustment of status application with USCIS, along with applications for any dependents, travel authorization, and employment authorization. However, processing on your adjustment of status application will not commence until your priority date is on or later than the date listed on the “Application Final Action Date” (Chart A)

For example, beginning October 1, those chargeable to India with approved EB-2 (employment-based, second preference) I-140 petitions and their qualified dependents may file I-485 applications if they have a Priority Date earlier than July 1, 2011, even though adjudication of such an I-485 in October requires a Priority Date earlier than May 1, 2005. See charts A and B, below:

Chart A “Final Action Date” Excerpt from the Department of State website:

Click here to view image.

Chart B “Filing Date” Excerpt:

Click here to view image.

This new policy should provide some relief to those facing daunting backlogs in the adjustment of status process.

Click here to see the October Visa Bulletin and view the full charts with explanations from the Department of State.