Visa Bulletin nailed to the cross

EASTER is next month. This is how the Visa Bulletin for April 2023 should be.

Both are not here yet (at the time of writing).

And both offer a Calvary and a Resurrection to immigrant visa applicants.

But not for every soul.

Only those waiting for their visa outside of the United States.

In fact, even those in the US who are undocumented – like those who have overstayed their residency – are more blessed than those patiently waiting in line or stressfully opening their email notifications from the National Visa Center (NVC).

Last month, USCIS issued amendments to the Child Status Protection Act that grant U.S. applicants relief by allowing them to use the dates in Table B of the Visa Bulletin – Dates for Filing of Family Sponsored Applications – as the by date an immigrant visa would be available, allowing those in the US to apply for a status adjustment.

The change will not benefit the hundreds of thousands of immigrant visa applicants who are awaiting interview appointments at consular posts around the world.

The USCIS announcement elicited love from the people of the United States, but it’s a heartbreak for those awaiting their visa appointments.

An Easter feast

Easter is traditionally celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. In 2018, Easter was celebrated on April 1st. Next year on April 21st. This year Easter Sunday falls on April 9th.

The Visa Bulletin, published monthly by the US Department of State, shows the deadlines by which immigrant visa applicants can either 1) apply for their visa at designated consulates/embassies; or 2) start their visa processing with NVC.

For Option 2, Immigrant Visa Applicants (IVAs) must use Visa Bulletin Table 2 “Dates for Submission of Family Sponsored Visa Applications”.

Submission Dates Family Sponsored

The attached table shows the dates for “submission of visa applications within a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process”.


IVAs must verify the “Date of Enrollment” on the receipt issued by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The filing date is the priority date. The USCIS receipt begins with the first three letters of the USCIS Service Center that processes it: WAC for California, EAC for New York, LIN for Nebraska, SRC for Texas, and IOE for those filed online.

IVAs that have a priority date earlier than the application date in the table can begin compiling the required documents to demonstrate continued eligibility for the specific individual and submit the required documents to the State Department’s National Visa Center after receiving a Received notification from the National Visa Center for detailed instructions.

Upon receipt of NVC instructions, an immigrant visa applicant can begin to obtain the documents required for a particular preference category after paying the affidavit of support and visa fees for the principal applicant and any derived beneficiaries, such as minor children .

Note that as of July 2021, the “Dates for filing a family-funded application” would have been favorable for an F1 immigrant—but not for an F2B visa applicant.

After stagnating for seven months – January through July – processing dates were pushed forward.

Further Authorization

John was sued by his Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) mother, Veronica, on April 30, 2012. His category at the time was F2B – over 21 unmarried son of an LPR. John has a partner, Magdalene. They have two sons, Luke and Mark, aged 5 and 7 respectively.

To avoid the stigma of being teased or bullied as an illegitimate, illegitimate child, John stated on Luke’s birth certificate seven years earlier that he was married to Magdalene when Luke was born on March 20, 2005 in Macabebe, Pampanga.

In July 2021, the “Date for Filing Family-sponsored Application” shows the F2B deadline for the Philippines as October 1, 2013.

However, the cut-off date for the unmarried son of a US citizen in the F1 category was April 22, 2015. Just a month earlier, the F1 cut-off date was May 15, 2014.

John’s mother was overjoyed. Veronica’s application for naturalization as a US citizen had been approved. She was then sworn in and received her certificate of naturalization on August 10, 2021.

Veronica instructed John to start processing his visa application at NVC as an F1 applicant.

John did it – after receiving the case creation letter from NVC with his case number and invoice ID number.

John proceeded to pay the affidavit fee, filed the affidavit; started uploading civil documents to determine his continued eligibility for the appropriate preference category.

Legally he could apply as an F1 visa applicant as the petitioner was now a US citizen. Or he could choose to refuse the F1 conversion and remain as an F2B visa beneficiary. Veronica must also notify NVC of her immigration status change in order to update John’s visa category.

The F1 is a better choice as the processing date indicates that John can complete his visa processing. Once he has submitted all the required civil documents, he could be considered documentary qualified and wait until his priority date is current. Luke and Mark would be derived beneficiaries.

However, Luke’s birth certificate is a captain’s sword hanging over John’s head. It could become a reason for visa refusal.

In August 2021, John decided to register Luke’s birth again, this time in Manila. When John applied for late registration on September 10, 2021, he stated that he was not married. As further proof that he was single, John received a certificate of non-marital status, a simple local civil status registration, from the Philippine Bureau of Statistics. Luke became an “illegitimate” son.

In the meantime, the deadline for visa category F1 had been stuck on April 15, 2022 since July 2021.

If he produces Luke’s original birth certificate, his petition could be revoked, since the original birth certificate shows that John was already married before the petitioner became a US citizen. The late registered PSA documented birth certificate states that John is not married. But Luke’s birthplace was moved from the original city in Macabebe to Manila.

The delayed birth certificate would be the correct one as far as civil status and date of birth are concerned. But Manila was given as the place of birth. Luke was born in Macabebe, Pampanga.

Should the consul check his records with PSA during the interview, the original birth certificate will show the correct date and place of birth, but the same birth certificate will show that Luke’s parents – John and Magdalene – were “married”.

He could be charged with falsifying public documents.

The late registration of the date of birth could lead to an immigration violation under “willful misrepresentation of a material fact”.

Which of John’s two birth certificates should he upload to the NVC database?

John’s Calvary has become tantalizing since the F1 processing date remains nailed to the cross of the immigrant visa backlog.

If he presents the document of the lesser evil, he could be a Passover victim.

Passed over for visa issuance.

(Continued next Monday, March 27, 2023)


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