Immigration Priority Date

This is one of the most frequently asked questions among those who are waiting for a Green Card, so below we will see what it’s about.

Priority Date

It’s the date on which you applied to apply for a green card with the USCIS and determines the place on the waiting list for those who will receive a Green Card.

In the case of an employer sponsored petition, the priority date is the date on which the Labor Certification was requested.

Factors on which the Priority Date depends

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The priority date depends on the origin of the request: work, family or marriage.

Eligible family members of a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) and of a United States Citizen (USC) each have their priority date.

Priority Dates for Family Members of U.S. Citizens

Under Immigration Law, only the immediate family members of US citizens always have priority and visas available. Let’s see the details.

For Direct Relatives of U.S. Citizens:

  • This category includes family petitions for children to parents, spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age.
  • The notification priority date that the USCIS delivers upon receipt of the application is just one date.
  • There is no established annual limit on visas.

For Indirect Relatives of U.S. Citizens:

  • This category includes siblings of citizens, unmarried children over 21 years of age and married children of any age.
  • There is an annual limit on visas for these categories and therefore there is a certain waiting time.
  • They are classified according to the Visa Bu

Priority Dates for Relatives of Legal Permanent Residents

  • An LPR can only petition for their spouse and unmarried children, with no age limits.
  • All LPR relatives are subject to the established annual limits, as well as other factors, such as the country of origin and are classified according to the Visa Bulletin.

Visa Bulletin

The Department of State Visa Bulletin is a monthly publication which indicates changes in the availability of priority dates.

This tool indicates who of those on the waiting list will receive their visa.

Visa Bulletin Categorization

Indirect Relatives of U.S. Citizens

  • Category F1: Unmarried children over 21 years of age.
  • Category F3: Married children of any age.
  • Category F4: Single and married siblings of any age.

Relatives of Legal Permanent Residents

  • Category F2A: Spouse, unmarried children under 21 years of age.
  • Category F2B: Unmarried children over 21 years of age.

Review of Priority Date in Visa Bulletin

Consulting the Visa Bulletin is very simple. The State Department publishes the bulletin month by month and there are not only reflected visas for family petitions, but also those related to work.

In each of the categories you will find a table with information on countries of origin and dates. For family petition visa applications, you can be guided by the type of category to which your relative is applying (F1, F2A, F2B, F3, F4).

It’s possible to check the progress of your priority date and see if your date is getting closer. If the Visa Bulletin shows the letter C or the word “Current” under your application category and your country of citizenship, if applicable, it means that there are visas available under that category.

If you see a date instead of the letter C or the word “Current” in your application category, it means that all people who have priority dates before that date can apply for their visa. Otherwise, you will have to keep waiting.

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