What Is My Priority Date?

On a daily basis, our office receives many questions from individuals regarding the priority date of their immigrant application. This article will try to provide answers to the most common questions regarding priority dates that we receive.

What is a Priority Date?
A priority date is a person's place in line for becoming a permanent resident of the United States. Most green cards are numerically limited, depending on your country of birth, and the family or employment category by which you are obtaining permanent residence. Therefore, it is important for individuals seeking to become a permanent resident to obtain a priority date as early as possible.

How do I establish a priority date?
For the family-based categories, a priority date is established when your relative submits a visa petition (form I-130) on your behalf.
For the employment based categories, a priority date can be established in one of the following two ways:

*When your employer submits an application for an alien labor certification on your behalf; or

*For those categories where no labor certification is required, when you or your employer submits a visa petition (Form I-140) to the USCIS on your behalf.

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Recapture of Visa Numbers for Schedule A Occupations (Nurses, Physical Therapists, and Performing Artists of Exceptional Ability)

On May 11, 2005, President Bush signed into law the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Package (H.R. 1268). Part of the legislation contained several immigration related provisions. Section 502 of the provision, titled "Visas for Nurses" amends § 106(d) of the American Competitiveness in the Twentieth Century Act (AC21) (which provides for the recapture of unused employment-based immigrant visas) by placing the unused employment-based visa numbers from fiscal years 2001-2004 in the "bank" for use in future fiscal years when the demand for employment-based immigrant visas in EB-1, 2, and 3 exceeds the annual quota.

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Department of Labor's Latest Update on PERM Denials

The Department of Labor (DOL) implemented the PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) program on March 28, 2005. The PERM program replaced the old labor certification process that was in place for well over 25 years. Labor Certification is the first step for most employment based permanent resident petitions. The transition to PERM has not been as smooth as the Department of Labor and many immigration law practitioners had envisioned it to be. Since the implementation of PERM, many attorneys have been reporting that they are getting a result of "denied" when they check the automated case status system for cases that they have submitted. At first, these denials were believed to have resulted from a system error. However, upon further investigation, DOL determined that these cases were in fact denied cases. These cases have been denied, not on substantive grounds, but rather on PERM's rule-based system that automatically denies these cases on certain bases. PERM is an electronic filining system that has certain denial triggers encoded within itself. Therefore, it is important to be very diligent in preparing and filing PERM based labor certification applications. The DOL has addressed this issue of denials in a recently released set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and also in a response to questions posed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). This article summarizes these materials and provides an update on the PERM process.

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PERM FOCUS GROUP

The Department of Labor conducted a focus group on 3/11/05 to review the form and filing process for the PERM labor certification program, which takes effect 3/28/05. Representatives of AILA's Labor Department Liaison, PERM Implementation and Business Immigration Committees participated.

Below is a summary of some of the key points that emerged.

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Immigration Options For Entrepreneurs Seeking To Start Ventures In The United States

An international entrepreneur's ownership of a U.S. business offers the entrepreneur a wide range of options for temporary and permanent immigration to the United States. Most nonimmigrant (temporary) options available to entrepreneurs are largely dictated by the individual's personal history, goals and investment. This article will explore the business immigration options for foreign nationals seeking to start new business ventures in the United States.

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PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) process.

What is PERM?

The final PERM regulation was published in the Federal Register on Monday, December 27, 2004. The rule became effective on March 28, 2005, 90 days after its publication. This means that all labor certifications filed from now on will be processed under PERM regulation. Below you will find an initial analysis of the new PERM process. In the coming weeks and months, we will provide more details and analysis on the various aspects of PERM.

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