How to Determine Your Priority Date

the woodlands tx immigration attorney

The processing times for immigration are notorious for their length, with some immigrants waiting for years on end before proceeding with their application priority date to become permanent residents. During this long waiting period, you need to know when your priority date is because it is one of the most important dates in your application to become a permanent resident so that you’ll eventually be a US citizen.

We’ll discuss in this article what priority dates are and how they are determined. If you have any questions about the green card application process, your best bet is to ask a knowledgeable immigration lawyer. Get in touch with our Shenandoah TX immigration lawyer for more information!

An Overview of Green Card Applications and Priority Dates

Getting a green card is an important step in an immigrant’s path to citizenship. A Green Card or Permanent Resident Card:

  • Makes your status as an immigrant official
  • Allows you to enjoy certain rights and privileges
  • Is a requirement for naturalization to become a citizen of the United States

People applying under employment-based immigration or family-based immigration have to wait for their priority dates to become current before continuing their applications. 

A priority date works like your place in a line. There are thousands of applications for visas and permanent residency and the offices need a way to make sure that the applications are processed accordingly. The priority date allows that to happen on a large scale. 

Once your priority date becomes current, you have two options for your next step: adjustment of status or consular processing.

If you’re already within the US, the most convenient choice may be an Adjustment of Status, which simply changes your nonimmigrant status to immigrant status. If you don’t qualify for an adjustment of status, you can still opt for consular processing.

Consular Processing is when you apply for your permanent residency through the US embassy or consulate. This option is available for those already in the US and those who still reside in their home country. 

Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll receive your Green Card and become a lawful permanent resident. If you are interested in family-based immigration or business immigration,  our skilled Shenandoah TX immigration attorney can help. 

How are Priority Dates determined?

The priority date is when either the US Department of Labor or when the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives your certification application or your visa petition.

If there’s any mistake in your paperwork or in the steps you take, then your priority date gets delayed as your petition gets sent back to you. Don’t let this happen to you.

No matter how confident you are about your petition, it’s best to let a competent immigration lawyer review your petition. This ensures your petition goes as smoothly and as fast as possible. 

Ask our Shenandoah immigration lawyers to take a look at your visa petition to ensure that everything goes right the first time. 

Checking the Progress of Your Priority Date

When your priority date becomes current, then you’re finally able to qualify for a visa or a green card. Take a look at the Visa Bulletin that the US State Department publishes every month.

The Visa-Bulletin gives a list of cut-off dates for every category. Look under your home country and application category to know whether your date is current. If it displays “C”, that stands for “current.” Expect a notification from the NVC (National Visa Center). If you want to undergo an adjustment of status, you should submit your green card application. 

Take note that when the Visa Bulletin displays a date for your country of nationality and your category, everyone who fits under that can apply for their immigrant visa. Now, if the date that’s shown there comes much later than your priority date, then prepare to apply for your green card application.

There is one way to submit your application before your priority date becomes current. If you’ll be going for a status adjustment, there are times when USCIS lets people submit their applications much earlier than their priority date. Check out the  Adjustment of Status Filing Charts from the Visa Bulletin at the USCIS site. Now, it can show you similar dates as the Visa Bulletin, or it might have a “Dates for Filing” chart which gives you the possibility to file earlier.

If you have any more questions about submitting your application or about how green card applications work, get in touch with our Shenandoah immigration attorney. Our extensive experience with the immigration process and the pertinent laws can help increase your chances of getting your application approved. Contact us today!

What’s Next After Permanent Residence?

If you’re aiming to be a permanent resident, chances are you want to become a citizen eventually. The process of naturalization grants US citizenship to foreign-born individuals. The most common categories that qualify for naturalization are: 

  • People who are eligible to serve in the US Armed Forces
  • People who are permanent residents for at least five years
  • People who have been permanent residents for three years or more and are in marriage to a US citizen for at least three years. 

If you have any questions about the application process for citizenship, please contact us immediately so you can have everything in order about your application. 

Call us Now For Immigration Help

Many immigrants travel to the Land of Opportunity to create better lives for themselves and their families. Our immigration attorney at Luis F. Hess PLLC can help you with any immigration concerns you may have. 

Our law firm has extensive experience dealing with all kinds of immigration cases, family immigration, marriage-based and employment-based cases, business immigration, removal proceeds, asylum, and more! Our Texas immigration firm provides a full-service approach to solving a wide variety of immigration issues from becoming a U.S. citizen to applying for a visa or green card.

What are you waiting for? If you want to have passionate representation and knowledgeable counsel, call our Shenandoah TX immigration law office today to schedule a consultation!

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(281) 205-8540

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