Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary

Priority Date

An immigration law term meaning the date on which a petition for immigration or a labor certification is first filed. The priority date is used to mark the intending immigrant's place in the green card waiting list (a list that tends to exist in every green card category that's subject to an annual numerical limit). Each month, the U.S. Department of State publishes a "Visa Bulletin" with an updated list of priority dates, meaning that anyone with a date that matches or is earlier than the dates on that list can stop waiting and continue with their application for a green card.