nderstanding when you are able to file your application for Adjustment of Status (“AOS”) may seem confusing at a glance, but once you understand how to read the Visa Bulletin, it’s not as complicated as you think!
Filing your AOS is the final step prior to receiving your green card. However, the US government authorizes a limited amount of immigrant visas available each year. Meaning, although the USCIS may have approved your immigrant visa petition, there may be some delay or a “waiting period” before you obtain your visa. How long you wait mostly depends on what visa category you applied for and your country of origin. Because there are several factors involved, the Department of State created the Visa Bulletin to assist immigrant visa applicants in understanding when to expect to file for AOS.
The Visa Bulletin is a monthly-generated chart that lists the final action date for each visa category. Your priority date is essentially your place in line for getting a green card. Priority dates are the means of establishing a waiting list for green cards when the amount of applications received exceed the amount of annual visas available.
For family-based immigrant visas, the priority date is the date when the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative was received by the USCIS. For employment-based immigrant visas, if you filed for an alien labor certification, your priority date is the date the Department of Labor received your application; however, if you instead filed under an NIW/EB-1, then your priority date is the date the I-140 petition was received by USCIS.
The final action dates listed on the chart determines when applicants may file their AOS. If there is a date listed in any class, it indicates that the class is oversubscribed. Countries that have high volumes of applications received are given their own column for final action dates, which means the waiting period for applicants may be longer. These countries typically include China, India, Mexico, Philippines, and Vietnam. If your priority date is earlier than the final action date listed in your category, then you are authorized to file for AOS!
“C” indicates “current,” meaning there is no waiting period in that category and applications of AOS may be filed immediately.
“U” indicates “unauthorized,” meaning numbers are not authorized for issuance.