What is the likely timing?
The news reports said that the planned release date is November 21st. Now that the story has been leaked, it may be that the White House will change that date. Over the past few weeks, the President has said consistently that he will act “before the end of this year.” Assuming that date is close to the actual announcement date, then it is possible to make some further assumptions as to the timing of subsequent events.
The December Visa Bulletin has already been released. While it is possible that the State Department will issue an update to make all employment based categories “current” as soon as the announcement is made, it is more likely that they will wait until the January Visa Bulletin to do this.
The January Visa Bulletin will be issued around the end of the first week in December, though it will not take effect until January 1, 2015. New applications for adjustment of status, based on that bulletin, may not be filed until the new year. Applications submitted prematurely will be denied. Given the massive number of expected new filings, it will be in your interest to be among the first to file.
For those who have pending AOS applications, it will be possible to begin making inquiries in December. Even though visa numbers may not be current yet, you can still make the USCIS aware of your pending application so that they can order the file returned from archives.
In reality, it will likely be months or years before the USCIS adjudicates all of the currently pending adjustment of status applications. For new filings in 2015, three to five years is a reasonable processing estimate. The USCIS simply doesn’t have the bandwidth to process massive numbers of applications.
What you can do to prepare if you are in lawful status
People who have approved PERM or I-140s should begin preparing immediately for filing their final green card applications. You can start by assembling the following documents:
* Your brith record
* A complete photocopy of all passports used since your last entry as a lawful nonimmigrant
* Your I-94
* A letter from your employer, verifying that the specific job shown in your PERM application is currently available to you
If you are married, you will also need:
* Your marriage certificate
If you have children (irrespective of where born), you will also need:
* A copy of each child’s birth record
If you have dependents, they will need the same documents as you, except for the letter from your employer. If you do not have a copy of your birth or marriage record, go to this page http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/fees/reciprocity-by-country.html/ and enter the name of the country where the record was issued. When the new page comes up, scroll down past the visas and fees to the documents section. There you will find what you need to know about obtaining these documents.
Keep in mind that you will need certified copies of all documents. Anything that is not in English must be accompanied by a translation.
What you can do to prepare if you are not in lawful status
Not everyone who is out of status will be eligible for relief under the President’s plan. If you have a child in the United States, the odds are good that you will be included. The purpose of the new plan is to keep families together.
If you are out of status, and you have minor children in the U.S., there are a few things that you can do now so that you can act quickly “just in case” you find that you are eligible.
The first thing to do is document the fact that you have children. This means that you need to obtain certified copies of their birth records.
The next thing that you should do is document how long you have been residing in the United States. This can include such things as:
* copies of tax returns
* evidence of car registration going back many years
* employment verification letters
* rent receipts
* utility bills
* bank records
* children’s school records
Be creative and try to think of credible, objective evidence that shows how long you have lived in the U.S.
Once the announcement has been made, we will provide more information. For now, however, get started getting these documents.
Join the discussion at http://www.immigration-information.com