Visa Bulletin 2.0 and It’s Implications, Including for EB-5 Investors
by Robert C. Divine, Vice President, IIUSA; Shareholder, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz
On September 9, 2015, the U.S. Government pleasantly surprised the immigration world by publishing a new type of monthly Visa Bulletin for October 2015 with a USCIS announcement about a new approach to the timing of the ability to take the last steps toward permanent residence. Bottom line: People otherwise eligible and present in the U.S. can file for “adjustment of status” and get interim work and travel documents significantly earlier than when their place in the queue for limited visa numbers is set for green card approval. I offer some musings, including some unique to EB-5. Maybe USCIS will shed more light at the September 16 stakeholder meeting USCIS has established (Ed Note: This event has since been cancelled).
Two Step Process. With apology, it takes a little background to understand what’s happening and what else it might mean. The path to U.S. permanent residence normally involves two essential steps: first, establish to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) your substantive eligibility for a particular category (and yes, in certain employment based categories that in itself starts with a preliminary process of “labor certification” with the Department of Labor); and second, once you are at the front of any waiting list for limited “visa numbers” allocated annually by statute, show that you are at the front of the queue and are not “inadmissible” (that is, without certain criminal convictions, contagious diseases, or other attributes Congress has listed). That second step involves either: (1) for people who are in the U.S. and otherwise eligible, filing for “adjustment of status” on Form I-485 with USCIS; or (2) for people processing outside the U.S., applying for an immigrant visa at U.S. consulate abroad.