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It’s important to understand that when you apply for family-based immigration to the United States, you will fall into a certain category. This is based on your relationship with the United States citizen, who is your relative. Your eligibility to apply for a green card depends on what “preference category” you fall into, again, based on your relationship. Since the United States cannot admit all relatives, only certain relatives are eligible. This is shown through the visa bulletin. The following blog explores how this bulletin works, how to read it, and why you need a New York City family immigration lawyer to assist you when it’s your turn to apply for a green card.

How Does the Visa Bulletin Work?

The visa bulletin is a tool used to move along backlogged immigration cases. Because only a certain number of visas are provided annually, the bulletin shows the current green cards being accepted.

Looking at the visa bulletin for the first time can be incredibly overwhelming. However, it can be simple to check. On the left side of the chart, you’ll see the different family-based preference categories (F1 – F4). At the top of the chart, you’ll see a list of countries. As such, the date underneath represents the day, month, and year that someone can either receive their visa (the final action chart) or apply for an immigrant visa (filing dates).

This date will correspond with the priority date listed on your I-797 Notice of Action, which you obtain after the United States citizen or lawful permanent resident files a form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. The date listed under the priority date is essentially your place in line.

As such, if the date on your Form I-797 falls after the date listed under your country and preference category, you must wait until that date is posted to the bulletin. For example, if you are in the F1 category from China, with the date of January 1, 2023, on your Form I-797, you must continue waiting as the bulletin is still in 2017.

If there is a “C” where there should be a date, meaning the category is current and you can file regardless of the priority date.

What Should I Do if I Need Help Applying for My Green Card?

If your time to apply for your green card has arrived as indicated by the “dated for filing” visa bulletin, it’s imperative to take the necessary steps to ensure this process.

When you need assistance, connecting with an experienced immigration attorney is critical. At the Law Office of Jason A. Dennis, we understand how overwhelming this process can be. Unfortunately, many people are worried about making errors that can impact their application, delaying this even more. As such, our team can help you through the process so you can have peace of mind your application will go as smoothly as possible. Connect with our firm today to discuss your unique circumstances.