As those of you who practice immigration law are aware, the time your client has to wait for an immigrant visa to be available depends on annual limits the law sets in certain visa categories, the date the petition is filed, and the number of applicants.
Last week, USCIS alerted practitioners and advocates on a conference call that they expect that the EB-4 (Employment-based 4th preference) category, under which special immigrants, like SIJS kids, fall, to be oversubscribed in early September, 2015. This category has an annual quota of 10,000 visas, of which 7.1% are allocated to SIJS kids. Countries which are potentially at risk of being oversubscribed are Mexico, India, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
USCIS has informed us that they will continue to accept adjustment of status applications and should the EB-4 category become oversubscribed after they’ve received your client’s application, they will hold those petitions in abeyance until the start of the next fiscal year (which is October 1, 2015).
However, one the limit is reached before the petition is filed, USCIS will reject the filing of the application.
This means that it would be prudent to make sure that the EB-4 is still current before you file your client’s adjustment of status application with USCIS.
Check to make sure that priority date for EB-4 and your client’s country of chargeability is current (“C”). Here is a handy little tool: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/immigrate/immigrant-process/approved/checkdate.html
And/or, view the most recent visa bulletin (http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/law-and-policy/bulletin/2015/visa-bulletin-for-september-2015.html ) and make sure that the priority date for EB-4 and your client’s country of chargeability is current (“C”).
If you need help reading the visa bulletin or need further explanation, please alert your Safe Passage Mentor Attorney.