The waiting line for immigration of family members and those sponsored by their employers moves according to determinations made by the Department of State (DOS) each month. It is published in the Visa Bulletin, available at here.
Starting August 1, the category for spouses and minor children (under 21) of permanent residents (those with green cards) is current for all countries. This is a jump from October 8, 2011, all countries but Mexico, which stood at September 1, 2011.
What this means for you:
- If you are the spouse of a person with a green card and are in the U.S. (for instance in a temporary visa status), you could file for “adjustment of status” (the application for a green card) concurrently with the I-130 starting August 1.
- If your spouse has filed an I-130 for you but you were waiting for the date to become “current” to file the I-485, you could file it as of August 1.
- If you have filed the I-485 based on your permanent resident spouse’s sponsorship but the line “retrogressed” (backed up), your case should be brought forward for adjudication in August if it is otherwise ready. If you do not hear from USCIS by August 15 and your I-485 has been pending for some time, we suggest contacting them to make sure your case is in line for adjudication.
- If you have filed an I-130 (or have an approved I-130) based on your permanent resident spouse’s sponsorship, but are waiting outside the U.S. for a visa interview, you should be contacted about an interview shortly. If not, you should contact the National Visa Center to make sure your case is on track for interview. We cannot predict whether DOS will have the capacity to interview all applicants, however.
- If you are not legally present in the U.S. you should consult an attorney (which we think is a good idea in any case!) before filing any application.
While this is great news, be careful: The Visa Bulletin is only valid for one month. We have no idea what the numbers will be in September.
The Visa Bulletin covers the period from August 1 to 31 only. Your application must not be received before August 1 or it will be rejected if your number is not already current. If it is received after August 31, it will be rejected if the waiting line has changed and your number is not current.
Finally, just because your case is accepted in August, it will not be approved in August. If the waiting line comes back, then you will have to wait for your number to become current again to receive the green card. But it is still important to file so that you can obtain work authorization and travel documents.