28/02/2024 2:48 AM

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Navigating Concurrent Filing in Immigration: What You Need to Know

Concurrent filing in U.S. immigration typically refers to the practice of submitting multiple immigration-related applications or petitions at the same time, rather than waiting for one to be processed and approved before submitting another. This approach is commonly used by individuals or families who are pursuing different immigration benefits simultaneously, such as family-based or employment-based immigration.

For example, in the context of family-based immigration, a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident may want to sponsor a family member for a green card (permanent residency) while also applying for a work permit or travel document for that family member. Instead of waiting for one application to be approved before filing the next, they can submit the Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) and Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), and/or Form I-131 (Application for Travel Document) concurrently. This can save time and allow the foreign national to have work authorization or travel documents while waiting for the green card application to be processed.

Concurrent filing can also be relevant in employment-based immigration when an employer sponsors an employee for a green card. The employer may submit a Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) and Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) concurrently, as long as a visa number is available for the employee’s category and country of chargeability.

Who can file Forms I-130 and I-485 concurrently?

Concurrent filing of Forms I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) and I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) is typically available to certain family-based and employment-based immigrant visa applicants. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Family-Based Immigration:
    • U.S. citizens can file Form I-130 and Form I-485 concurrently for their immediate relatives (spouse, unmarried children under 21, and parents).
    • Lawful permanent residents (green card holders) can also file Form I-130 and Form I-485 concurrently for their spouse and unmarried children under 21.
  • Employment-Based Immigration:
    • Concurrent filing of Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) and Form I-485 is generally allowed for most employment-based immigrant visa categories when a visa number is available for the beneficiary.

It’s essential to check the latest USCIS guidelines and updates, as immigration policies and procedures may change over time. Visa availability and eligibility criteria can vary, so it’s advisable to consult with an immigration attorney or visit the USCIS website for the most up-to-date information on concurrent filing and specific eligibility requirements for the immigrant category you are applying under.

What are the benefits of concurrent filing?

Concurrent filing of immigration applications, such as Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) and Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), can offer several benefits to eligible applicants. Some of these advantages include:

  • Faster Processing: One of the primary benefits is the potential for faster processing of your immigration applications. When you file both the immigrant petition (I-130 or I-140) and the adjustment of status application (I-485) concurrently, it streamlines the process and allows both applications to be processed simultaneously, reducing the overall waiting time.
  • Earlier Work Authorization: If you are eligible and file Form I-485 concurrently with other forms, such as Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), you may be granted work authorization sooner. This can be especially important for individuals who need to work in the United States while their green card application is pending.
  • Earlier Travel Authorization: Similarly, if you file Form I-485 concurrently with Form I-131 (Application for Travel Document), you may be eligible to receive advance parole, which allows you to travel internationally while your adjustment of status application is pending. This is beneficial for those who may need to travel for work, family emergencies, or other reasons.
  • Family Unity: Concurrent filing can help keep families together and maintain family unity by allowing spouses and children to apply for adjustment of status at the same time as the primary beneficiary, such as the petitioner or the primary employment-based applicant.
  • Priority Date Retention: If your Form I-485 is filed concurrently with an approved Form I-140 in an employment-based preference category, you can retain your priority date, which can be important for visa bulletin and green card quota purposes.
  • Predictable Processing: Concurrent filing allows you to have a more predictable timeline for the immigration process, as you can often anticipate the processing times for both the immigrant petition and the adjustment of status application.