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USCIS Opens Early Applications for Adjustment Of Status

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that I-485 applications for adjustment of status will be open as soon as October 2018 in both the family-based and the employment-based categories according to the cutoff dates outlined in the “Dates for Filing” Chart of the State Department’s monthly Visa Bulletin.

Form I-485, or the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, offers lawful permanent residence to immigrants who entered the country legally and can prove their eligibility. An applicant must meet all the requirements in certain categories like family relationship or employment.

According to current immigration policy, employment-based I-485 applicants can only file their applications once they reach their priority date as dictated in the Visa Bulletin’s Final Action Chart. As such, the recent announcement that USCIS will be receiving applications before the priority date came as a pleasant surprise.

USCIS has, since October 2015, only minimally, and on very limited occasions, allowed employment-based status adjustment applicants to follow Chart B in filing their applications. They have had to strictly rely on the cutoff dates outlined in Chart A for their filings. Family-based applicants have been freely able to refer to and take advantage of the dates in Chart B given that they are comparably fewer than employment-based applicants.

While the early I-485 filing this year shows no signs of being a permanent policy change, it nonetheless poses a major development for employment-based applicants and their families. I-485 recipients can now obtain employment authorization documents (EADs) as well as Advance Parole travel permits, which will come over a year earlier than some expected.

EB-5 investors from Mainland China currently in the US in lawful temporary visa status can apply for lawful permanent resident status if the priority date of their I-526 petition was set to before Oct. 1, 2014. While Chart A’s cutoff date was set to Aug. 15, 2014, Chart B’s cutoff date is over a month later, allowing for significantly more aspirants to file their green card application.

Also, as Vietnam remains current for October, Vietnamese EB-5 investors and their dependents with approved I-526 petitions currently in the US in valid temporary visa status can now file their green card applications until the end of October regardless of their petition’s priority date. This comes as good news as Vietnam EB-5 faced retrogression earlier this year and is expected to remain in backlog for the months to come due to sustained EB-5 demand.

If you have questions about how to prepare for potential scrutiny on your investor visa status, talk to Austin-based immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle. Contact the Lyttle Law Firm at (512) 215-5225to schedule a consultation today.

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