October 1, 2015 Visa Bulletin Changes: FAQs for H-1B and J-1 Physicians

Physician Immigration Attorney Jan Pederson
Thursday, September 10, 2015 - 8:45am
Jan Pederson, Shareholder

Leading physician immigration attorney and advocate, Jan Pederson shares insights regarding how the new Immigrant Visa Availability System will impact physicians with employer-sponsored green-card applications. We will continue to update these. Please note that the earliest filings may be made for eligible individuals under this new system is October 1, 2015.

Question:
If I am a physician fulfilling my three-year J-1 waiver commitment and have a PERM approved with a priority date within the Visa Bulletin “Date For Filing Application” cut-off date, may I file an I-485 (Application for Adjustment of Status), I-131(Application for Travel Document) and I-765( Application for Employment Authorization Document) for myself and my dependents?

Answer:
No, you cannot file these applications until you complete your three-year waiver commitment and your priority date is within the filing date.

Question: If I am a physician fulfilling my three year J-1 waiver commitment and have a physician National Interest Waiver (NIW) I-140 petition approved with a priority date within the Visa Bulletin “Date For Filing Application” cut-off date, may I file an I-485, I-131 and I-765 for me and my dependents, may I file these applications?

Answer: Yes.

Question: If I am working in H-1B status and have finished my waiver commitment and then file an I-485, I-131 and I-765 when my “Date For Filing Application” as listed in the Visa Bulletin is current, do I have to continue renewing my H-1B status after the EAD work permit card is issued to me?

Answer: No, you would not be required to do so. However, we strongly recommend that you maintain the underlying H-1B status until you are granted permanent residence.

Question: If I have a pending or approved PERM based I-140, and I file an I-485, I-131 and I-765 when my “Date For Filing Application”, as listed in the Visa Bulletin, is current, when can I change employers and not lose the PERM and I-140?

Answer: Once the I-485 has been pending 180 days and the I-140 remains unrevoked, you can port your approved PERM and I-140 to the same or similar employment.

Question: Can USCIS take away the right to file an I-485, I-131 and I-765 when my filing date as listed in the Visa Bulletin is current?

Answer: Yes, the wording on the USCIS Website indicates they “may” (as opposed to “will”) accept an I-485, I-131 and I-765 when the “Date For Filing Application” as listed in the Visa Bulletin is current. Thus filing at the earliest possible moment is important.