For Filing vs. Final Action Date, the Two-Tiered Visa Bulletin
In the U.S. Department of State’s monthly visa bulletin, how to understand the "Date For Filing" and "Final Action Date"?
To provide those who are stuck in immigrant visa quota backlog with the benefits of a pending adjustment, and to reduce waiting time where possible, U.S. Department of State’s monthly visa bulletin provides "Date For Filing" and "Final Action Date"
Previously, the monthly visa bulletin has served to update one date for each category of permanent residence applicant - the priority date cutoff. This one date determined whether you were eligible to submit your permanent residence application, and whether it was expected that there would be a visa number available, allowing your application to be approved.
Now, the “Date for Filing” determines whether or not you can submit the final immigrant visa application, and the “Final Action Date” indicates whether or not it is expected that an immigrant visa number will be available.
In many cases, the Date for Filing will be well before the Final Action Date, meaning that the alien applicants will be eligible to submit an application for permanent residence well before it is even possible for the government to approve that application.
Therefore, those stuck in a backlog can get benefits of a pending adjustment - apply for a combined EAD/AP card, which provides employment and travel authorization. Immigrants holding an EAD can work for any U.S. employer, which provides significantly more security and flexibility than the employer-specific H-1B petitions that serve as the basis for many immigrant’s employment authorization. For family-based applicants, the EAD may be their first-ever work authorization in the U.S., so getting that earlier is a great benefit.
Also, earlier filing of the final application means that employment-based permanent residence applicants will be eligible for AC21 portability earlier, meaning they can change employers, under certain circumstances, without being forced to re-start their permanent residence application from the beginning.
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