December Visa Bulletin Update: USCIS Will Use the “Final Action” Dates for Employment-Based Cases, “Filing” Dates for Family-Based Cases

November 19, 2015

In conjunction with the release of the December 2015 Visa Bulletin by the Department of State, USCIS has announced that for the month of December Employment-based applicants should use the  “Final Action” cutoff dates. Family-based adjustment applicants and all immigrant visa applications submitting applications to the National Visa Center will continue using the new “Filing” cutoff dates. This is the first time since the DOS bifurcated the priority date cutoffs that the “Final Action” dates have been used to determine who may submit applications for any category of applicant. USCIS may well switch back to using the “Filing” dates for all applicants next month, so be sure to check back for updates.

The below chart (click to enlarge) shows both categories of cutoff dates for each chargeability category. Only India EB-2 saw significant forward movement, and the vast majority of categories were either stagnant or moved forward less than a month.

12-2015 (Both)

In other priority date news, there is still a lawsuit pending against the DOS and USCIS related to the late-September decision to revise the October Visa Bulletin (which had been released weeks earlier). In that revision, some categories had their cutoff dates pushed back significantly, and many applicants who had been preparing adjustment applications for submission in October had to scrap those plans.

The lawsuit had been seeking to force the DOS and USCIS to use the dates as originally released, but the court denied that request (though the suit remains in progress).


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