In the U.S. Department of
State’s monthly visa bulletin, how to understand the "Date
For Filing" and "Final Action Date"?
To provide those who are
stuck in immigrant visa quota backlog with the benefits of a pending
adjustment, and to reduce waiting time where possible, U.S. Department
of State’s monthly visa bulletin provides "Date For Filing"
and "Final Action Date"
Previously, the monthly visa bulletin has served to update one date for
each category of permanent residence applicant - the priority date
cutoff. This one date determined whether you were eligible to submit
your permanent residence application, and whether it was expected that
there would be a visa number available, allowing your application to be
Now, the “Date for Filing” determines whether or
not you can submit the final immigrant visa application, and the
“Final Action Date” indicates whether or not it is
expected that an immigrant visa number will be available.
In many cases, the Date for Filing will be well before the Final Action
Date, meaning that the alien applicants will be eligible to submit an
application for permanent residence well before it is even possible for
the government to approve that application.
Therefore, those stuck in a backlog can get benefits of a pending
adjustment - apply for a combined EAD/AP card, which provides
employment and travel authorization. Immigrants holding an EAD can work
for any U.S. employer, which provides significantly more security and
flexibility than the employer-specific H-1B petitions that serve as the
basis for many immigrant’s employment authorization. For
family-based applicants, the EAD may be their first-ever work
authorization in the U.S., so getting that earlier is a great benefit.
Also, earlier filing of the final application means that
employment-based permanent residence applicants will be eligible for
AC21 portability earlier, meaning they can change employers, under
certain circumstances, without being forced to re-start their permanent
residence application from the beginning.