Priority Date

Priority date is a United States immigration concept - it is the date when a principle applicant first reveals his intent of immigration to the US government. For family-based applicants, the priority date is the date an immigration petition, filed on behalf of him/her, is received by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. For employment-based immigrantion beneficiaries, the priority date is when an immigration petition is filed, or when United States Department of Labor receives a labor certification application in categories where labor certifications are required. In all cases, the priority dates are not established until USCIS approves the immigration petition. The date establishes one's place in the queue for an employment- or family-based permanent residency permit (also known as "Green card") application.

The United States Department of State publishes a monthly Visa Bulletin which lists cut-off dates for different immigration categories and countries of birth. Only those intending applicants with priority dates before the cut-off date are permitted to file their Adjustment of Status (AOS) applications or attend immigrant visa interviews at consulates. The cut-off dates generally move forward over time as old cases are approved or abandoned. However, in certain cases, such as if a large number of old cases work their way through the system at about the same time, the cut-off dates can actually retrogress (or roll back). If an individual already has a pending AOS application on file when a retrogression occurs that places the cut-off earlier than the applicant's priority date, USCIS sets the application aside and will not adjudicate it until the priority date is current again. As an example, after months of stagnation, in June 2007 the priority date cut-offs for employment-based second and third preference (EB2 and EB3) applicants (the bulk of employment-based green card applicants) advanced dramatically for all countries of birth. On the low end, the cut-off advanced eight months for immigrants from mainland China for EB2 category. EB3 for India-born applicants has moved forward 25 months, the most of any category, thus impacting a huge number of workers with jobs requiring Bachelor's degrees.

For individuals starting the employment-based green card process now, country of birth and job requirements are paramount in determining how long the overall process will take. Individuals from countries other than China or India with jobs requiring a Master's degree can complete the entire process, from labor certification to receiving the green card, in as little as four months (in a best case scenario), if there is no backlog of visa availability, i.e., all priority dates are current. Workers from China or India with jobs requiring only a Bachelor's degree can expect to wait years after filing the labor certification and immigrant visa petition to become eligible to file the final application for the green card itself.

Read more about Priority DateLegal Studies

Other articles related to "date, priority date, priority":

Patent Cooperation Treaty - Procedure - Publication
18 months after the filing date or the priority date, the international application is published by the International Bureau at the WIPO, based in Geneva, Switzerland, in one of the ten ... If 18 months after the priority date, the international application designates only the United States, then the application is not automatically published ... of the international application until 28 months after the priority date, any third party may file observations regarding the novelty and inventive step of the invention ...
Priority Date - Legal Studies
... Two immigration lawyers, Gary Endelman* and Cyrus D ... Mehta, published an article named "The Tyranny of Priority Dates" ...
Provisional Application - Procedure and Benefits
... To obtain the benefit of the "provisional" filing date, a non-provisional patent application must be filed, claiming benefit of the filing date of one ... However, the original priority date of any expired provisional applications will be forfeited ... The provisional priority date is of little consequence for any claims in the issued patent that are not supported by the disclosure in the priority document ...
Permanent Residence (United States) - Application Process - Application Process For Employment-based Visa
... The date when the labor certification application is filed becomes the applicant's priority date ... Currently this step centers around the priority date concept ... Priority date – the visa becomes available when the applicant's priority date is earlier than the cutoff date announced on the DOS's Visa Bulletin or when the immigrant visa category the applicant is assigned ...
Claim (patent) - Basic Types and Categories
... This is because any publication dated before the application's priority date and published anywhere in any language can invalidate the claim (excluding ... not yet published at the time of filling, but have a priority date prior to the priority date of the application, can also invalidate the claim ...

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