GOOD NEWS! Starting on October 1, 2015, the USCIS will improve the process through which family based permanent residence applicants can apply for their permanent residence. This change applies only to spouses and unmarried children of permanent residents, married and unmarried children of US citizens, and brothers and sisters of US citizen siblings. Currently, there is greater annual demand for visas (permanent residence )in all of these categories than there are visas available. This has been the case for many years, and the waiting lists have grown to over 20 years long in some categories. The recent improvement now allows applicants to apply earlier for their permanent residence, which also means they will get a work permit and a travel permit sooner. The waiting lists to apply have only been moved up anywhere between 5 months to 2 years, but if your priority date (filing date) was close to being current in any of the categories, you should apply for your permanent residence in October, because I expect the USCIS will receive so many applications in October that they will move back the waiting lists significantly in November and many people who were eligible to apply in October will not be able to apply in November. The USCIS will announce the waiting lists for November in the Visa Bulletin that is published every month around the 10th of the month. Go to this link to check your priority date.
I do want to let everyone know that applicants will not get their permanent residence any sooner than before. The only change is that they can apply sooner for their permanent residence, which will allow them to get a work permit, travel permit, social security number, and driver’s license many months sooner than before. Give me a call if you have a case pending and I can tell you if you are eligible to apply for your permanent residence on October 1, 2015.