On Friday, September 25, 2015, the U.S. Department of State released a revised October Visa Bulletin, significantly cutting back the new “filing cutoff date” for applicants in backlogged immigrant visa categories to file their Applications to Adjust Status.
The original October 2015 Visa Bulletin was issued on September 9, 2015. Following are the key changes in the revised October Visa Bulletin released today for employment–based (EB) and family-based (FB) applications to adjust status to permanent resident (green card):
- Indian-born applicants under the EB-2 preference category must have a priority date before July 1, 2009, which is two years earlier than the prior October Visa Bulletin, in order to file their applications beginning October 1st .
- The filing cutoff date for EB-2 applicants born in China, changed from May 1, 2014, back to January 1, 2013.
- The filing cutoff date for EB-3 applicants born in the Philippines changed from January 1, 2015 back to January 1, 2010.
- Certain family-based (FB) applicants from Mexico have been similarly impacted depending on their preference category.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has advised that U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS) will only accept filings on October 1st in accordance with the revised October Visa Bulletin.
In preparation of filing applications for themselves and their families on October 1, 2015, many applicants have obtained costly medical examinations from designated civil surgeons, paid for 6-8 passport photographs per family member, and engaged attorneys to prepare their applications. Attorneys have responded by working quickly to get applications prepared for filing on the first day of October in order to file applications for their clients ahead of the rush of expected filings.
The revision of the October Visa Bulletin resembles actions taken by the Government in the summer of 2007, when the Department of State published a revised Visa Bulletin after applicants had similarly relied on an earlier version that would have allowed them to file their applications beginning July 1st. After a lawsuit the Government ultimately agreed to accept filings submitted in accordance with the earlier July 2007 bulletin. Given collective memory of the fallout from the revised visa bulletin in July 2007, the revision of the October 2015 Visa Bulletin after applicants have had two full weeks to rely on the earlier bulletin has caught both applicants and attorneys by surprise.