October Visa Bulletin Introduces the “Filing Date” and the “Final Action Date” **UPDATED WITH REVISED DATES**

September 29, 2015

**UPDATED 9/29**

On September 25th, the Department of State released updated cutoff dates to the “Filing Dates” for some Family-Based and Employment-Based categories. While the vast majority of categories were not affected, some saw significant changes for October’s cutoff dates – in each instance, for the worst. This is not a “retrogression” of cutoff dates, as the previously-reported dates had yet to take effect; this is simply a revision to October’s Visa Bulletin. The affected categories are:

F-1 Mexico (changed to April 1, 1995; previously listed as March 1, 2015)

F-3 Mexico (changed to May 1, 1995; previously listed as October 1, 1996)

EB-2 China (changed to January 1, 2013; previously listed as May 1, 2014)

EB-2 India (changed to July 1, 2009; previously listed as July 1, 2011)

EB-3 and Other Workers, Philippines (changed to January 1, 2010; previously listed as January 1, 2015)

As indicated above, some of these changes are quite significant, and will impact many people who had been preparing to submit applications in October. Lawsuits are likely to follow, so additional changes should not be considered out of the question.

A final clarification: all revisions were to the “Filing” priority date only; October’s “Final Action” priority dates (which tracks with the single set of dates previously referred to simply as “Priority Dates,” and which determines when an application is eligible for approval) were not revised. For more on the difference between “Filing Date” and “Final Action Date” read here.

The original post announcing the change is below, but the dates have been updated to show the revisions in red.

Originally posted 9/9/2015:

The October update to the Department of State’s visa bulletin made news beyond the usual round of minor cutoff date advancements: it split the priority date cutoff in two. In addition to having a cutoff date to indicate whether or not a visa number is expected to be available, the Department of State is now also reporting a “Filing Date,” which indicates when a permanent residence application may be submitted – even if a visa number isn’t currently available. For some categories, this difference is only a matter of weeks and so won’t have much of an effect on the application process. However, for many categories these two dates are many months (in some cases years) apart. While this won’t ultimately effect when an applicant receives a green card, it can make a significant difference in they receive employment and travel authorization, or are able to take advantage of AC21 portability.

Below is a chart showing the Filing Date and Final Action Date for each category.

Click the images to see them full-size.

10-2015 Employment-Based (updated)

10-2015 Family-Based (updated)

This change is very new, and we are still learning more about what it will mean going forward. Please check back for additional information.


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