F2A Cut-off Date Established for Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents in October Visa Bulletin File by September 30 or Miss This Opportunity

The October Visa Bulletin issued by the U.S. Department of State advises that a cut-off date of September 8, 2013 for spouses and children (unmarried, under 21 years of age) of green card holders will be established effective October 1, 2013. Eligible applicants who have not already filed their applications for permanent residence (I-485) should therefore do so immediately to avoid the consequences of this retrogression.

As of October 1, lawful permanent residents of the U.S. will still be able to file the I-130 relative petition to sponsor their foreign national spouse and/or children. However, the option to file the I-485 "green card" application concurrently with the I-130 petition will disappear. Generally, an applicant is only able to file the I-485 when the filing date of the I-130 petition is earlier than the cut-off date in the Visa Bulletin.

As a pending I-485 application not only permits an applicant to remain in the U.S. while awaiting adjudication of the application, but also allows the applicant to obtain work authorization and travel permission, this is a significant development with important implications for many of those affected. Predicting movement, whether forward or backward, in the Visa Bulletin is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Eligible applicants are therefore strongly encouraged to file their I-485s by September 30 to avoid an indeterminate delay in the grant of these immigration benefits.

To schedule a consultation or to discuss the impact of this development please contact our office.