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Figuring out visa availability is hard, and the stakes are high.If you apply too early your application will be rejected. If you apply too late, you might lose your place in line. We make it easy to keep track of your priority date and apply as soon as you’re eligible.
Fast, Easy, Accurate. Let us help you find out if this is the right time to apply for your Green Card.
Under U.S. immigration law, only a certain number of people can get a green card each year. Applicants can wait months, or sometimes years, for a visa number to become available so that they can apply for a green card. The only applicants who don’t have to wait in line for a green card to become available are certain kinds of family-based green card applicants know as “Immediate Relatives.”
In order to qualify as an “Immediate Relative,” you must be:
If you’re not an “Immediate Relative,” you need to check if a visa number is available before you can apply for your green card.Visa availability is decided based on an applicant’s country of chargeability, priority date and preference category.
Your country of chargeability is your country of birth. Applicants who were born in India, Mexico, the Philippines or China usually have to wait longer for a visa number to become available than applicants from other countries.
If you were born in India, Mexico, the Philippines or China and you are married to someone who was born in a different country AND your spouse is applying for a green card with you, then you can use your spouse’s country of birth as your “country of chargeability” if that would make your wait time shorter.
In most cases your priority date is the date that your immigrant petition was received by USCIS. You can find your priority date on the Form I-797 Approval Notice you received when your immigrant petition was approved.
Note: If you are applying for an employment-based green card based on an Approved Labor Certification, then your Priority Date is the date that your Labor Certification was filed.
In family-based green card applications, your preference category is determined by the immigration status of the sponsor, and the type of family relationship. Family-based green card sponsors are required to file a Form I-130 immigrant petition to start the sponsorship process. You can find your preference category on the I-130 Approval Notice, underneath “Notice Type.”
In employment-based green card applications, your preference category is determined by the kind of work you will do in the U.S., and by the qualifications required to perform that work. Employment-based green card sponsors are generally required to File a Form I-140 I-140, Immigrant Petition. But some employment-based applicants have an approved I-360 petition, or an approved I-526 petition. You can find your preference category on the I-140, I-360 or I-526 Approval Notice, underneath “Notice Type.”
Each month USCIS publishes the cut-off dates for each preference category so that applicants can determine whether this is the appropriate time to apply for green card.