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How does the US immigration Visa Bulletin work?

The U.S. Visa Bulletin is published every month, and it serves to update employment- or family-sponsored visa applicants with the status of their applications. British Columbia residents who have visa applications filed with U.S. immigration can keep track of their positions in the queue by studying the bulletin. This is where they will be able to tell when their visas are available, which will allow them to file an application for a green card or adjustment of status.

The time an applicant has to wait depends on various matters. Only a specific number of visas for immigrants are issued every year, and the number already issued that year, along with the demand for visas, will play a role in the waiting time. There are also limits to the numbers of visas available for issue per country along with limits per category. All these can affect the time it takes to obtain a visa.

Those who want a visa to get a green card or an adjustment of status to become a permanent resident must follow specific procedures. The first step is the filing of an immigration petition by an employer or qualifying relative. Some petition types, such as spouses of U.S. citizens and unmarried children under age 21, allow the immediate availability of visas, while applicants for other types have to wait. Each application is allocated a priority date, which is the date a family member filed the petition or when the labour certificate was accepted by the Department of Labor.

The Visa Bulletin will have a cut-off date, and if the applicant’s priority date is earlier than the cut-off date or if a “C” is indicated — meaning current — then the visa is ready for collection. Because U.S. immigration is such a complicated process, many British Columbia residents utilize the services of experienced lawyers to navigate it for them. Lawyers who are familiar with the laws of both countries as well as any changes in legislation can provide the necessary support and guidance.

Source: FindLaw, “How to Use the U.S. Visa Bulletin“, Accessed on April 14, 2018