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"Priority Dates" And Immigration Law

What Is The Relevance Of A Priority Date In An Immigrant Visa Petition?

Video Transcript

Welcome viewers to the legal segment of Sitaarre TV, my name is Shweta Khandelwal and I’m an attorney based in Santa Clara practicing US immigration and nationality law. Today we are going to discuss a very popular complex and misunderstood area of immigration law and that is, the concept of priority dates. Now, what exactly is the relevance of a priority date in a visa petition specifically in an immigrant visa petition? A priority date is a date when your immigrant visa petition or the perm is actually filed with the US government this could be either a family-based immigrant visa or an employment-based immigrant visa. Each country has the same number of immigrant visas reserved for it as the other, nationals from India and China have the same number of visas available compared to nationals from another country like Switzerland or even the Vatican City. Now obviously this explains why there is a huge waiting line for people from India and China and it takes much longer to get a green card if you are a citizen of India or China as compared to being a citizen of any other country. So it is your priority date which will determine how soon you can get a visa as compared to a person from the same country. Now let’s take a quick look at the visa bulletin for February. If you look at the visa bulletin for February 2012 for the EB-2 category of visa you can see that currently, the government is processing cases that it received on or before January 1st, 2010. The EB-3 category shows that the government is processing cases that it received on or before August 15, 2002. Now let’s quickly take a look at the visa bulletin for the previous month which is January 2012. The EB-2 category shows that the government is processing cases it received on or before January 1st, 2009, while the EB-3 category shows that the cases received on or before August 8, 2002, are currently being processed. What this means with say reference to the February visa bulletin is that, if your perm or your immigrant visa petition was filed any time on or before January 1st, 2010, your priority date is now current we can see that the cases that are filed under the EB-2 category are getting processed a lot faster than those file under the EB 3 category, obviously most people want that their cases get filed under the EB-2 and not the EB-3 the question is is there something that you can do to ensure that your cases are filed in the EB-2 and not the three category. Now there are 2 issues that will determine whether you are eligible for the EB-2 or the EB-3 employment-based immigrant visas. Now most people know that if you want to qualify for the EB-2 category the candidate must have a bachelor’s degree plus five years of progressive relevant work experience or a master’s degree, but what is also important to remember that the position for which the green card is being filed should also require a masters or should also require a bachelor’s plus five years of experience that is it is not just enough for the candidate to possess the requisite qualifications the job position for which the employer is filing the green card must also require the person to possess those qualifications. If you’re one of those whose green cards have been filed under the EB-3 category and want to move to the EB-2 category, please note that you can have two green cards being processed for you at the same time from two different employers your best bet would be to find another employer who’s willing to sponsor your green card so that you can utilize the experience that you have acquired from your first employer and be eligible for the EB-2 category which mandates five years of progressive work experience. I hope you found the session useful, next week we’ll take up some other issues and immigration maybe we’ll discuss some topics and family-based immigration as we’ve been discussing employment-based immigration for a while, so if you have any questions suggestions or comments feel free to email me at, see you next week.