A priority date establishes your place in the queue for a permanent residency status (also known as a Green Card). You cannot file your Adjustment of Status (AOS) applications or apply for your immigrant consular interview until your priority date is current.
Depending on your visa category and country of chargeability, this can be one to several years. For most foreign nationals, losing or retaining a priority date can make a big difference in the timeline of their path to permanent residency.
The new rule that went into effect on January 17, 2017 made some changes to the process of determining priority dates. Here are common questions about these changes.
When is my priority date?
The priority date of any petition accompanied by a labor certification is the date the labor certification application was accepted for processing. The priority date of any petition that does not require a labor certification is the date the petition is properly filed with USCIS. This was the practice previously, but now it is codified.
Is it possible to retain my priority date if my company withdraws my I-140 or the business terminates?
Previously, you could have lost your priority date on the date that the request to withdraw your I-140 was filed by an employer or when business operation was terminated. With the new rule, you may be able to retain it.
If an I-140 is approved and at least 180 days have passed since the approval of the I-140, you get to keep the priority date, notwithstanding revocation of petition. Also, if the I-140 is not approved, but the petition was filed concurrently with an Adjustment of Status and that Adjustment of Status is pending for at least 180 days, you can keep the priority date in the case of business termination or a company’s withdrawal of that I-140.
In both cases, you must also have either a new Form I-140 petition filed on your behalf or be eligible for job portability.
Are there situations where my priority date may still be revoked?
The priority date of a petition may not be retained if USCIS revokes the approval of your petition due to fraud, willful misrepresentation, revocation, or invalidation of the underlying labor certification, or material error by USCIS.