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Understanding Priority Dates in Immigration Processing
Immigration processing times are notoriously long. One of the most important dates on your path to citizenship is your priority date. This article will discuss how priority dates work in your application to be a permanent resident. If you want to apply for a green card, it’s best to get the help of an experienced immigration attorney. Call our immigration lawyer in Durham, NC now for a consultation!
Overview of Immigration and Priority Dates
Certain Green Card applications have to wait for their priority date to become current so that they can proceed with their application.
In other words, after you’ve had your initial visa application approved, you’ll have to wait until your number comes up on the list. Think of the priority date as your spot in line. Thousands of others have applied for immigrant visas and permanent residency, and the priority date keeps everyone’s spot in order.
Processing time varies but not everyone will have to wait. Those in the employment-based and family-based categories will receive priority dates.
When your priority date becomes current, then you can proceed to the next step. You can either:
- Apply for an immigrant visa at a US Consulate or Embassy in your home country in what’s called a “consular processing.”
- Apply for adjustment of status if you’re already within the US.
No matter which process you take, you will then get a Green Card and permanent residence. Do note that those who applied through consular processing have to immigrate and move to the US for their permanent residence to take effect. If you are interested in family-based immigration, work visas, or naturalization, our competent immigration attorneys in North Carolina can help.
Checking the Progress of Your Priority Date
When your priority date becomes current, then that means you’re finally eligible for a green card or a visa. Check out the Visa Bulletin published by the US State Department monthly.
The Visa Bulletin gives you a list of visa cut-off dates for each category. Look under your application category and your country of nationality. If it shows “C”, that means “current” and you can expect to hear from the National Visa Center (NVC). If you’re adjusting your status, then prepare to submit your Green Card application.
When the Visa Bulletin displays a date for your country and category, then everyone who has their priority dates before that can apply for a visa under that category. If you see a date that’s later than your own, prepare to apply for your green card.
There’s one more way to submit your application before the priority date becomes current. If you’re in the US and planning for an adjustment of status, sometimes the USCIS office does allow an early submission. Head to the USCIS Website and go to the Visa Bulletin page. Look at the Adjustment of Status Filing Charts. It can show similar dates as the Bulletin or show different “Dates for Filing.” This gives you the chance to file earlier!
If you have any questions regarding how priority dates work, talk to our experienced Durham NC immigration lawyers. We have extensive knowledge of immigration law and the processes involved. Call us now!
How are Priority Dates determined?
The priority date is the date when either the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the US Department of Labor receives your visa petition or certification application. If there’s an error in your application, then your priority date will be delayed as your petition is returned to the petitioner.
This is why a foreign national needs to hire a skilled immigration lawyer if they want to become a lawful permanent resident. Any mistake sets your petition back, and an attorney can ensure that everything goes smoothly the first time.
If You Need Legal Help
Many people want to move to the US for a better life for themselves and their sons and daughters. If you need immigration help, our attorneys at Diener Law are at your service! From an alien to a green card holder with a permanent resident status to a US citizen, our immigration attorneys can help you every step of the way.
What are you waiting for? Get in touch with our North Carolina immigration lawyers now and get started on your immigration journey!