Understanding the Visa Bulletin: Comprehensive FAQs

The Visa Bulletin plays a pivotal role in the U.S. immigration process. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding the visa bulletin and its importance.

1. Defining the Visa Bulletin

What exactly is the visa bulletin? The Visa Bulletin is a monthly chart detailing the availability of green cards. Given the yearly cap of 140,000 legal permanent resident cards and the per-country quota system, it helps indicate which individuals can apply for their green card each month based on backlogs.

2. Accessing the Visa Bulletin

Where can one find the visa bulletin? The bulletin is conveniently available on the Department of States website.

3. Decoding EB Categories

What do EB categories in the visa bulletin signify? EB stands for “employment-based.” Depending on job requirements, an employee sponsored for permanent residency gets classified into one of five EB categories, with EB-2 and EB-3 being the most common for employment-sponsored green cards.

4. Recognizing an Employee’s EB Category

How to identify an employee’s specific EB category? The I-140 approval notice clearly states this. If filed through a trusted service provider, this notice can be located in the associated reference documents.

5. Unpacking the Priority Date

What does the term ‘priority date’ mean on the visa bulletin? Priority dates help applicants discern when they can file their I-485 green card application. Typically, for EB-2 and EB-3, the priority date aligns with when the ETA 9089 was accepted by the Department of Labor.

6. Legacy Priority Dates and New Employers

Why might an employee’s priority date precede their current employment? Employees can carry forward priority dates from past employers when transitioning to new sponsorships.

7. Citizenship vs. Country of Birth in the Visa Bulletin

Which country is considered for the visa bulletin? The applicant’s country of birth or their spouse’s is used, depending on which offers a better advantage.

8. Monitoring by Immigration Specialists

Is the visa bulletin regularly monitored by immigration professionals? Absolutely! Reputable immigration professionals keep a close eye on the visa bulletin. When an individual’s status matches the current visa bulletin, these specialists act swiftly to ensure a smooth progression of the immigration process.

9. The Dual Visa Bulletins

Why two different visa bulletins? Historically, the only visa bulletin was the Final Action Chart. However, another chart was introduced to indicate when I-485 applications can be submitted. The agency that handles these applications may choose to use either chart, so monitoring both official updates is essential.

10. The Final Step: I-485 Application

What is an I-485 application? The I-485 is the ultimate application in the green card journey. It consists of personal details and security questions to ensure the applicant isn’t a threat to the U.S.

11. Timeframe for I-485 Processing

How long does it take to process an I-485? The processing time varies, ranging from 8-24 months, depending on several factors like the specific service center.

12. Costs of I-140 and I-485

What are the associated costs? Kindly get in touch for detailed insights.

13. Downgrading and Premium Processing

Can someone downgrade their EB category? Yes, but it requires filing a fresh I-140, which isn’t eligible for premium proces