November Visa Bulletin update: Dates for Filing will determine filing eligibility for employment-based applicants

15 Oct 16

UNITED STATES

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that in November it will accept employment-based adjustment-of-status applications based on the Visa Bulletin’s Dates for Filing chart.

Key points:

  • The cutoff date for India EB-2 will jump forward by nearly one year and six months with the use of the Dates for Filing chart instead of the Final Action Dates chart.
  • The cutoff date for China EB-2 will jump ahead about eight months with the use of the Dates for Filing chart.
  • The cutoff date for India EB-3 will move forward by almost four months, and the cutoff date for China EB-3 will move ahead by a little more than a year.
  • The EB-3 categories for Mexico and All Other Countries will become current, and the cutoff date for Philippines EB-3 will move ahead two years and five months.

Additional information: As in the Final Action Dates chart, all EB-1 categories will remain current. All EB-2 categories other than India and China will remain current as well.

Dates for Filing Employment-Based Adjustment of Status Applications

Preference China India Mexico Philippines All Other Countries
EB-1 Current Current Current Current Current
EB-2 March 1, 2013 April 22, 2009 Current Current Current
EB-3 May 1, 2014 July 1, 2005 Current Sept. 1, 2013 Current

The Dates for Filing chart in the November Visa Bulletin will also be used for family-sponsored immigrants, but not for EB-5 filings, which will be controlled by the Final Action Dates chart.

Background: Since October 2015, the Visa Bulletin has included two separate cutoff dates for each backlogged preference category: (1) a cutoff date that identifies whether immigrant visas remain available for filing an application to adjust status with USCIS (Dates for Filing Visa Applications) or submitting paperwork to the National Visa Center for a consular application; and (2) a cutoff date that will control whether a visa number remains available for issuance so that USCIS or the State Department may approve an immigrant visa or application to adjust status (Application Final Action Dates). While USCIS will accept applications under the Dates for Filing cutoff dates in November, the agency is expected to use the Final Action cutoff dates for adjudication and approval of the adjustment-of-status applications.

BAL Analysis: The use of the Dates for Filing chart will benefit a number of applicants, particularly in the categories highlighted above, who will now be able to file applications for permanent residence sooner than would have been possible under the Final Action Dates chart. While USCIS will still adjudicate and approve applications under the Final Action dates, the allowance of the Dates for Filing chart will permit a higher number of applicants to file adjustment-of-status applications and obtain an employment authorization document (EAD) and advance parole (AP) for themselves and their family members.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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