The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final rule that became effective on February 16, 2016, which provides a few revisions to several nonimmigrant visa categories and one immigrant visa category. More specifically, the revisions impact the H1B1 (specialty occupation professionals who are citizens of Chile and Singapore), CW1 (transitional workers who will be employed in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands), and E-3 (specialty occupation professionals who are Australian citizens) nonimmigrant visa categories, as well as the EB1(b) (outstanding professor or researcher) immigrant visa category. The new regulations are primarily intended to correct inconsistencies and gaps in prior regulations.
Today, the State Department released the Visa Bulletin for October, 2015. For the first time, the Visa Bulletin now shows both an “acceptance date” and an “approval date.” These two dates are highly significant.Today, for the first time, the State Department introduced an acceptance date. If an applicant’s priority date is earlier than the acceptance date, they may apply for adjustment of status in October.The acceptance date is supposed to represent a good faith estimate the time it will take the USCIS to process applications for adjustment of status, compared to the anticipated availability of visas.