Visa Bulletin: Green Card Wait Times Reduced for Some, Filing Hurdles Remain for Others

The March visa bulletin, released by the US Department of State, brought a wave of relief and excitement to many families seeking green cards through family sponsorship. For spouses and children of green card holders, the wait for visa interviews at embassies has significantly decreased, moving forward to June 22, 2020. This translates to a reduction of nearly three years and eight months, allowing individuals who filed before this date to schedule their visa interviews in March.

However, a shadow of uncertainty hangs over those within the US. Since September 2023, concurrent filing for green cards has been suspended, creating a hurdle in maintaining visa status while petitions are reviewed. This leaves many navigating the complexities of maintaining legal status while their applications work their way through the system.

For married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens, the news is equally encouraging. Interview wait times at embassies have been trimmed by almost five months, now standing at October 1, 2009. This improvement benefits individuals whose petitions were filed before this date, potentially accelerating their journey towards permanent residency.

Positive developments extend to other categories as well. Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens can now interview if their filing date is before February 8, 2015, reflecting a faster processing time by one month and one week. Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents also experienced a welcome reduction, moving the priority date to November 22, 2015, representing a one month and three-week improvement. Siblings of US citizens can now interview if their priority date is before June 8, 2007, reflecting a two-week advancement.

While these updates paint a hopeful picture for many, a note of caution is necessary for those who filed I-130 petitions after September 1, 2023. Unable to concurrently file for green cards, they face the challenge of maintaining their visa and immigration status despite their petitions being under review. This creates a sense of limbo, leaving individuals unsure of their next steps and potentially facing the risk of losing their legal status.

Overall, the March visa bulletin offers a mixed bag of news for families seeking green cards through family sponsorship. While processing times have improved for many categories, the inability to concurrently file within the US remains a concern for those who filed petitions recently. Navigating the complexities of the immigration system can be daunting, and it is crucial to seek legal counsel to understand individual circumstances and explore available options.