I-485 Filing Dates: DOS Visa Bulletin vs. USCIS Determination

Effective this month, the monthly Visa Bulletin from the DOS contains two charts, one listing Application Final Action Dates (“Final Action Dates”) and the other listing Dates for Filing Applications (“Filing Dates”). The Final Action Dates are dates when applications for adjustment of status or immigrant visas may finally be approved/issued, while filing dates are the earliest dates when applicants may file adjustment of status or immigrant visa applications.

Yesterday, USCIS announced that it would add another layer to this new procedure starting next month. About a week after the release of the DOS’ Visa Bulletin each month, USCIS will publish on its website either the Filing Dates chart or the Final Action Dates chart to be used by adjustment of status applicants when submitting their applications. If USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available than there are known applicants, it will publish the Filing Dates chart. In that situation, individuals whose priority dates are earlier than the published Filing Dates may file their applications for adjustment of status. Otherwise, individuals must use the Final Action Dates to determine if they may file their adjustment of status applications.

What this means is that individuals can now use the earlier Filing Dates chart only when also specifically authorized by USCIS, which seems to take a lot of the wind out of the already slightly torn sails.