Back in September we told you that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) was allowing applicants to file their I-485 applications for adjustment of status in both the employment-based and the family-based categories according to the earlier-in-time Filing Date Charts. Put another way, USCIS has been accepting Form I-485 filings for all prospective qualifying immigrants before a visa number is technically available. The past few months have been a boon for EB- applicants because since the introduction of the two chart system, USCIS has almost always mandated that such immigrants may only file once their priority dates are current, as per the “Final Action” date for I-485 filings.
As noted, this change in policy represented a huge development for certain applicants, who potentially were able to access employment authorization documents (EADs) and Advance Parole travel permits which, in certain instances, would potentially be more than a year earlier than otherwise anticipated.
Green and Spiegel has been filing our clients’ files in light of this change for months, however, it appears that this will shortly come to an end. In a January Update, USCIS stated the following:
For Employment-Based Preference Filings:
You must use the Dates for Filing chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for January 2019. Based on current trends in inventory and visa use, USCIS anticipates that applicants in the employment-based preference categories will have to use the Final Action Dates chart as soon as February 2019.
Now, this doesn’t represent a definitive deadline, as the language used by USCIS is equivocal as to whether or not February will indeed be the end of this potential, and there is no telling what the effects of the current or prolonged government shutdown will have on visa processing as we progress into the new year. However, potential applicants’ best option remains to both stay vigilant and proactive regarding this filing potential, before it is too late to use to their benefit and resolve their files sooner.