Visa Bulletin: Significant advancement in most categories, Dates for Filing will control filing eligibility

18 Sep 19

UNITED STATES

Priority-date cutoffs in a number of employment-based categories will advance significantly with the start of the new fiscal year, Oct. 1, according to the State Department’s October 2019 Visa Bulletin. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it would follow the State Department’s Dates for Filing chart next month.

With the notable exception of China EB-2, Final Action Dates moved forward in almost all categories. The advancement came after significant retrogression in a number of categories in recent months.

Key movements on the Final Action Date chart:

EB-1

  • China EB-1 will advance two years and 10 months to Nov. 1, 2016.
  • India EB-1 will have a priority-date cutoff of Jan. 1, 2015 after visas were unavailable in this category in September.
  • The rest of the countries under the EB-1 category will advance by more than six months to April 22, 2018.

EB-2

  • China EB-2 will retrogress by two years to Jan. 1, 2015.
  • India EB-2 will advance four days to May 12, 2009.
  • The rest of the countries under the EB-2 category will become current after having a priority-date cutoff of Jan. 1, 2018 in last month’s Visa Bulletin.

EB-3

  • China EB-3 will have a priority-date cutoff of Nov. 1, 2015 after visas became unavailable in this category last month.
  • India EB-3 will have a priority-date cutoff of Jan. 1, 2009 after visas became unavailable in this category last month.
  • Philippines EB-3 will have a priority-date cutoff of Oct. 15, 2017 after visas became unavailable in this category last month.
  • The rest of the countries under the EB-3 category will become current after visas became unavailable in this category last month.

 Application Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases:

Preference All Other Countries China El Salvador Guatemala Honduras India Mexico Philippines Vietnam
EB-1 April 22, 2018 Nov. 1, 2016 April 22, 2018 Jan. 1, 2015 April 22, 2018 April 22, 2018 April 22, 2018
EB-2 Current Jan. 1, 2015 Current May 12, 2009 Current Current Current
EB-3 Current Nov. 1, 2015 Current Jan. 1, 2009 Current Oct. 15, 2017 Current

After the Visa Bulletin was posted, USCIS announced that in October it would follow Dates for Filing when determining whether applicants are eligible to file for adjustment of status.

Application Dates for Filing for Employment-Based Preference Cases:

Preference All Other Countries China El Salvador Guatemala Honduras India Mexico Philippines
EB-1 July 1, 2019 Sept. 1, 2017 July 1, 2019 March 15, 2017 July 1, 2019 July 1, 2019
EB-2 Current Aug. 1, 2016 Current July 1, 2009 Current Current
EB-3 Current March 1, 2017 Current Feb. 1, 2010 Current Current

Because Vietnam is not listed on the Dates for Filing chart, adjustment of status applicants from Vietnam should use the dates listed for “all other countries.”

USCIS also announced that family-based immigrants in most categories will be permitted to use the Dates for Filing chart that is applicable to family-sponsored immigrants in October. The Dates for Filing chart for family-based immigrants was also published in the October Visa Bulletin.

BAL Analysis: Officials said last month that they would make “every effort” to return Final Action Dates to at least what they were at the beginning of August. This has now happened except in China EB-2 and China EB-3. The announcement that USCIS would honor Dates for Filing is also good news, because in many cases the Dates for Filing chart has more progressive cutoff dates than the Final Action Dates chart.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@balglobal.com.

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