Applicants may now apply for permanent residence before their priority dates become current

New USCIS/DOL policy allows applicants to apply for permanent residence before their priority dates become current: Starting October 1, 2015, the US Department of State and USCIS will implement a new policy permitting individuals to apply for permanent residence before their priority date becomes current.  The US Department of State Visa Bulletin now includes two charts: one chart indicates which priority dates are current and the second chart lists the date that a permanent residence application may be filed based on the applicant’s priority date.  The second chart includes dates that are months or even years later than the applicant’s priority date, opening up the opportunity for many to apply for permanent residence starting October 1st.  This change will allow the Department of State to better predict when priority dates will become available and reduce some of the “bouncing around” of priority date availability that we have seen in the past.  While the permanent residence application is pending, the applicant is eligible for a work and travel permit. Although an individual may apply for permanent residence much sooner, the case will only be decided once the applicant’s priority date becomes current.