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Green card applications will soon be filed earlier

Many foreign-born individuals living in South Carolina may be able to begin the process of applying for permanent residency earlier than they could previously. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. Department of State made plans to implement a new procedure for accepting I-485 adjustment of status applications. Beginning in October, applicants can submit their I-485 forms before their priority dates are current and before new visa numbers are available.

Before the new rules were created, people had to check the monthly Visa Bulletin published by the State Department to determine if new immigrant visas were available so that they could apply for one. Now, the DOS and USCIS will analyze data in order to predict future immigrant visa demand. Applicants for permanent residency will simply check the monthly Visa Bulletin to determine the earliest date that they can file an I-485 form.

The change in procedure is meant to cut down on month-to-month fluctuations in visa availability. By allowing people to apply for permanent residency before their priority dates are current, the DOS and USCIS will be able to determine whether there are more visas than applicants for visas each year.

People filing their permanent residency in the United States can include all of their qualifying dependent family members on the application. A family that is immigrating to the U.S. may want to obtain the assistance of an immigration attorney to ensure that their form I-485 is completed correctly and filed at the earliest possible date. Counsel may also be able to help an applicant for permanent residency to file an application for employment authorization.

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