April Visa Bulletin

March 23, 2017

Following the Department of State’s release of the April 2017 Visa Bulletin, USCIS has informed prospective applicants of which priority-date chart they should consult for the month of April:

Family-Based Applicants: Filing Dates chart

Employment-Based Applicants: Final Action chart

The relevant charts can be seen below.

Family-Based Applicants

Family-based applicants should consult the Filing Dates chart for April (see below); however, the chart shows no movement in either direction relative to the March version.

Employment-Based Applicants

Employment-based applicants should consult the Final Action chart for April (see below), which saw some significant forward movement relative to the March chart. Specifically, EB-3 categories all moved forward at least 2.5 months, with the exception of EB-3 India, which only saw its cutoff date advance by 2 days.

Forward Guidance

The DOS provided helpful informatin about the anticipated future movement of priority date cutoffs. Among the highlights:

  • All EB-1 categories, including EB-1 China and EB-1 India, are “current,” meaning anyone who is ready to submit their adjustment application is free to do so. However, DOS is stating that by August there will be a backlog for EB-1 China and EB-1 India, so we should expect to see a Final Action date for those categories in the next few months.
  • The DOS is warning of “extremely limited forward movement” for EB-3 India, which is consistent with this month’s 2-day advancement of the EB-3 India cutoff date.

The full text of the DOS’s guidance is below:

 VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS

FAMILY-sponsored categories (potential monthly movement)

Worldwide dates:
   F1:  Up to several months
   F2A: Up to one month
   F2B: Up to five weeks
   F3:  Three or four weeks
   F4:  Two or three weeks

EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement) 

Employment First:   The category will remain “Current”.

   China and India: A Final Action Date is likely to be imposed by August. 

Employment Second:

   Worldwide:  Current

   China:         Up to five weeks.

   India:          Up to one month.  

Employment Third:

   Worldwide:  Up to three months. 

   China:         Up to six months.

   India:          Extremely limited forward movement.

   Mexico:        Will remain at the worldwide date.

   Philippines:  Up to six months. 

Employment Fourth: Current for most countries.

                             El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico:
                             Some movement may be possible during the summer
                             months.

Employment Fifth:   The category will remain “Current” for most countries.

                             China-mainland born:  Up to two weeks.

The above final action date projections for the Family and Employment categories indicate what is likely to happen on a monthly basis through May or June based on current applicant demand patterns.  Readers should never assume that recent trends in final action date movements are guaranteed for the future, or that “corrective” action will not be required at some point in an effort to maintain number use within the applicable annual limits.  The determination of the actual monthly final action dates is subject to fluctuations in applicant demand and a number of other variables. 


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