The Act for Immigration & Nationality (INA) place the limit on no. of immigrant visas that might be granted to the foreign citizens every year, the US State Department (DOS) generally allocates the abovementioned immigrant visas.
There are so many immigrant visas that are available every year for the immediate relatives of citizens of the US. It includes unmarried children below 21years of age, spouses, parents of the citizens of the US minimum 21 years age and existing spouses of the citizens of the US if the citizen of the US spouse filed petition before their death or existing spouse file the petition in 2 years of the death of the US citizen.
There are around 2,26,000 available immigrant visas every year in categories related to family-sponsored preference, job-based preference category immigrant visas are usually limited to 1,40,000 visas every year. However, the numbers might rise when immigrant visas from preceding year’s allotment are not benefited up. DOS further distributed based on the category of the preference, country of birth and the priority date.
Regarding Priority dates
When demand for the immigrant visas surpasses the available no. of visas, the waiting list for the availability forms of immigrant visa and priority date is used for determining the individual ‘s place in the queue of the visa.
Priority date is situated on the Form I-797 Notice of Action of the potential immigrant for the applicable petition for the immigrant visa filed on their behalf. For many categories related to family-sponsored preference, the priority date is the date the Form I-130, Petition for the foreigner relative is filed with the USCIS.
For the job-based preference categories that need a certification of labour from the labour department (DOL), priority date is the date that the application for labour certification is filed with DOL, and the petitioner might file an I-140, petition of immigrant for the foreign worker with the USCIS within 6 months from the date of the certification of the labour is approved. For the job-based preference categories that don't need a DOL certification of labour, the priority date is the date the application for the immigration visa is filed with the USCIS for the processing.
Only when the priority date of the potential immigrant is earlier than the cutoff date shown for the given preference category and the country of birth in the relevant chart of monthly Visa Bulletin is the visa number available. When the priority date of the individual is latest, then they can take the concluding steps in the process for getting status of legal permanent residence in the US.
Some time, the cutoff date of the visa would shift backwards to the previous date and the priority date that is latest one month would no longer be the latest the next month. This happens when many people who applies for the visa in a category surpass the available number of immigrant visas that month.
Regarding Status Applications Adjustments
People present in the US could file the form I-485, Application to Register PR of Adjust Status in association with the family sponsored or job-based petition of immigrant visa according to monthly Visa Bulletin published by the DOS. The monthly Visa Bulletin of the DOS point out that the immigrant visas availability according to the “Application Dates of Final Action” and “Filing applications dates.” Generally the “Application Final Action Dates” chart would specify when the potential immigrant is eligible for filing adjustment of status application with the USCIS.