Last week, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a public notice advising all customers with a pending I-130 Petition that the agency is processing Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) as a visa number becomes available. Because eligible family members must wait until there is a visa number available before they can apply for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status to a lawful permanent resident, USCIS announced it is offering this service so it can concentrate resources first on cases where visas are actually available.
USCIS said in the notice that it is not expecting this process to delay the ability of one’s relative to apply for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status. The agency is advising applicants to refer to www.state.gov/travel to determine current visa availability dates.
According to the memorandum, anyone who filed an I-30 petition that is currently pending with USCIS is advised that USCIS will adjudicate petitions based upon visa availability. This means that the estimated processing time listed on receipt notices may no longer be accurate.
U.S. Citizens or lawful permanent residents planning to file a petition for a qualifying relative are encouraged to file as soon as they are eligible, in order to establish their relative’s place in line, even if the petition may not be decided in the near future. Upon filing, USICS will send a receipt that will establish a place in line for a visa called a “priority date.” USCIS will adjudicate Form I-130 prior to visa availability, or within six months if a visa is immediately available upon filing.
For more information, visit www.uscis.gov or call 1-800-375-5283.
[Editor’s note: The USCIS notice did not address the common situation where a person automatically converts to a category with a shorter wait. Historically, it has been difficult to get the USCIS to update their records accordingly and shift a case into the faster category.]