We are writing with heavy hearts to announce that the October visa bulletin as originally published has been rescinded and replaced with a new visa bulletin. The revised visa bulletin still has the two filing charts as the original one did. However, the dates shown in the revised “filing date” chart have significantly retrogressed. This means that thousands of foreign nationals, who have waited years, sometimes a decade or more, to apply for permanent residence, now cannot file October 1 as originally planned.
The revised visa bulletin can be found here: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin/2016/visa-bulletin-for-october-2015.html
Why Did This Happen?
The following reason is provided on the revised visa bulletin:
Following consultations with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Dates for Filing Applications for some categories in the Family-Sponsored and Employment-Based preferences have been adjusted to better reflect a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process. The Dates for Filing Applications sections (sections 4.B. and 5.B.) which have been adjusted have been identified in Bold type.
What Happens Now?
- As things stand right now, unless your priority date is current for the “dates for filing” according to the revised visa bulletin, you cannot file the I-485 application for adjustment of status right now.
- If you have not yet had your medical exam completed and your filing date is not current, you may want to cancel that appointment for now. Keep in mind that the medical exam is valid for one year.
- If you have already sent signed forms, documents, etc. to our office, we will keep those on file for the time that you are able to file (we may need to obtain updated information, signatures, etc. closer to the time of filing).
- If you have not already sent us signed forms and documents, we recommend that you hang on to those until we see that your filing date is coming up. Please keep them all together and organized so they are ready to go when it’s time to file.
- A similar situation occurred in the summer of 2007. At that time, when the visa bulletin was rescinded, a lawsuit was filed against USCIS, and others were in the works. As a result of this, USCIS actually reversed their actions and accepted the I-485 applications until mid-August 2007. While there is no guarantee that a similar strategy would work this time, there is hope. In fact, immigration attorney Greg Siskind is planning to file suit soon. If you would like to provide your information to participate in this lawsuit, you can submit the online questionnaire found here: http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07eblvrcw7if06cb4f/a022ucif3yfwts/greeting. There is no cost for doing this (more information is available at the link). Greg requests that you list the information of your immigration attorney on the form so that he can coordinate as needed.
At this time we do not have further information. We will continue to keep you posted of any other developments as we have that information available.
Finally, please keep hope. Although our team is not impacted in the same way that you are, we are incredibly disheartened by this news. However, we are confident that brighter days are ahead in the immigration world, and that one way or another, this situation will be resolved favorably. Keep up the hope!
“For people who have been patiently waiting in line and are stuck in the long visa backlogs emblematic of the U.S. legal immigration system, this is yet another huge letdown,” said Victor Nieblas Pradis, AILA President. He continued, “So many people spent time and money getting their applications ready to file and now they are told, due to government miscalculation, that they can’t file after all. This mistake affects real people: individuals who have already made important life decisions based on previously released information published by the government two weeks ago. They now, once again, face extended delays before they can get travel documents and employment authorization. In the long run, the announced changes to the visa bulletin are improvements to the system that will eventually help thousands of families and individuals to plan and get on with their futures, but in the short run this miscalculation has serious consequences. Frankly, they deserve better, and the Administration should be ashamed and embarrassed at the harm this mistake has caused,” he concluded.