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Breaking News: It May be Possible to Escape Immigration Backlogs
This is big news. Yesterday, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) jointly announced new procedures that will allow many individuals who are currently stuck in immigrant backlogs to file their application to adjust status in the United States (and potentially to obtain temporary work authorization and travel documents) much earlier than they otherwise could.
Under U.S. immigration law, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident can sponsor certain qualifying family members to receive immigrant visas and permanent residence in the United States. Similarly, U.S. employers can sponsor certain foreign nationals they wish to hire.
Until now, even after a foreign national found a qualifying family member or U.S. employer to sponsor him, that foreign national has been required to wait until his “priority date” became current, before he could apply for a visa or to adjust his status. Due to the limited number of visas available each year, foreign nationals seeking legal permanent resident status (or “green cards”) in the United States got stuck in extremely long backlogs.
The new procedures do not increase the number of visas available each year, so foreign nationals may still need to wait (sometimes a very long time) until their priority dates become current before they can obtain their green cards or have their visas approved.
However, by allowing foreign nationals to apply for adjustment of status (even before their priority dates considered “current”), many foreign nationals may be able to qualify for temporary work authorization and travel documents.
The new procedures will begin on October 1, 2015. If you or someone you know is currently stuck in an immigration backlog, and you want to know how these changes affect you, contact the immigration lawyers at Gunderson, Denton, & Peterson, P.C.
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