USCIS Announces System for Visa Bulletin Dates for I-485 Filings

There has been a great deal of confusion surrounding recent changes to the U.S. Department of State (DOS) visa bulletin system. There are now two cutoff charts each for the family-based (FB) and employment-based (EB) preference categories. As previously discussed, however, those seeking to file an application for adjustment of status (form I-485) must pay careful attention to determine which chart to use from one month to the next.

Application Final Action Date: Default Chart for Filing I-485

As explained in the USCIS instructions, the application final-action-date (FA) chart determines eligibility for filing an I-485, unless otherwise stated. This chart is, essentially, the default cutoff date chart, much like the longstanding one-chart system used in the previous version of the monthly visa bulletin.

Dates for Filing Visa Applications Chart in Some Months

In some months, including November 2015, it will be permissible to use the cutoff dates in the (more favorable) dates-for-filing (DF) chart as a basis for filing an I-485. Each month, the USCIS will make a determination whether there are sufficient visa numbers to allow for the use of the DF chart. This determination will be announced by the USCIS each month on a designated webpage within a week of the DOS’s release of the latest visa bulletin.


Under this system, if an applicant’s priority date allows for filing under the FA chart, the I-485 can be filed in the particular visa bulletin month. If, however, the filing would only be allowed under the DF chart, the applicant must check the USCIS website for final confirmation as to which chart applies during the month in question to avoid filing the I-485 prematurely.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.