May 18, 2017
Family-Based Applicants: Final Action Dates chart
Employment-Based Applicants: Final Action Dates chart
The relevant charts can be seen below.
For the second straigh month, family-based applicants are instructed to consult the Final Action Dates chart to determine their eligibility to submit adjustment applications in June.
Relative to May, only F4 China and F4 All Other failed to see priority date advancement. All other categories moved forward by 2+ weeks, with some categories (primarily in the Mexico and Philippines chargeability areas) moving forward a month or more.
Employment-based applicants should consult the Final Action chart for June (see below). Relative to May, there was notable movement in most of the EB categories:
EB-1: All EB-1 categories had been ‘current’ prior to this month, meaning that anyone who was eligible to file in any EB-1 category was free to do so at any time. Beginning in June and continuing until the new fiscal year in October, EB-1 China and EB-1 India applicants will need to have previously established a priority date in order to be eligible for adjustment. Practically, this will mean that new Chinese and Indian adjustment applicants will have to wait until October to submit I-485 applications in the EB-1 category.
EB-2: EB-2 India and EB-2 China each moved forward less than 1 month, while the other chargeability areas remain ‘current’.
EB-3: All chargeability areas moved forward by at least 1 month (including a 4 month advancement for the EB-3 Philippines), with the exception of EB-3 China, which did not move in either direction.
Other Workers: Priority dates advanced at least 1 month in all chargeability areas.
As promised in last month’s visa bulletin, priority date cutoffs will be established in June for EB-1 China and EB-1 India. In this month’s guidance, the DOS reiterated that these categories will become current again in October 2017.
As noted above, EB-3 China will not see any forward movement for the month of June. In addition, the DOS is indicating that EB-3 China will see retrogression in the coming months (no later than August). The reason is that they have been receiving many applicants who had previously applied under the EB-2 China, but applied a second time in EB-3 in order to benefit from that category’s later priority date cutoff. It would be reasonable to expect that EB-2 China will therefore ‘overtake’ EB-3 China in the coming months.
The full text of the DOS’s guidance is below:
OVERSUBSCRIPTION OF THE CHINA AND INDIA EMPLOYMENT-BASED FIRST (E1) PREFERENCE CATEGORIES
Readers were advised in item D of the May Visa Bulletin number 5, that it would be necessary to impose a date for these two countries in the near future. The continued high level of demand for E1 numbers for USCIS adjustment of status applicants has required the establishment of a date for June. This has been done in an attempt to hold number use within the Worldwide E1 annual limit. The E1 date for these two countries will once again become CURRENT for October, the first month of fiscal year 2018.
EXTENSION OF TWO EMPLOYMENT VISA CATEGORIES
An extension of both the Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR) and Employment Fifth Preference Pilot (I5 and R5) Categories was signed into law in early May. As indicated in item E of the Visa Bulletin which announced the May final action dates, the extension has resulted in the immediate application of the following final action dates for the month of May:
SR: “Current” for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico which are subject to a July 15, 2015 final action date for May.
I5 and R5: “Current” for all countries except China-mainland born for May. China-mainland born applicants are subject to a June 1, 2014 final action date for May.
EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA AVAILABILITY DURING THE COMING MONTHS
CHINA E3: There has been an extremely large increase in Employment Third preference applicant demand during the past month. This is due to the “downgrading” of status by applicants who had originally filed in the Employment Second preference. This has resulted in the Third preference final action date being held for the month of June. Continued heavy demand for numbers will require a retrogression of this date no later than August to hold number use within the FY-2017 annual limit.
INDIA E4 and SR: There continues to be high demand in these categories which is likely to result in the India E4 per-country limit being reached during June. Therefore, readers should expect the implementation of July E4 and SR Final Action Dates for India. This action will allow the Department to hold worldwide number use within the maximum allowed under the FY-2017 annual limits.
The India E4 and SR dates would once again become CURRENT for October.