October Visa Bulletin **UPDATE: USCIS To Use “Filing Date” Chart for October**

September 9, 2016

The Department of State has released the October 2016 Visa Bulletin, which shows multi-year advancements for priority date cutoffs in many categories. All employment-based second-preference (EB-2) categories advanced more than one year, as did many EB-3 categories.

For October, USCIS has determined that they will accept adjustment applications based on the quicker-moving “Filing Date” charts, rather than the “Final Action” charts (which had been in use for the prior few months). For a detailed explanation of the difference between the two charts, see our article, “Date For Filing vs. Final Action Date.” Below are the “Filing Date”  charts, but do keep in mind that, even if an application is eligible to be filed, that is no guarantee that a visa number is available at that time. For visa number availability, please consult the “Final Action” charts, which can be seen here.

Filing Chart for Family-Based Applicants



Filing Chart for Employment-Based Applicants



Forward Guidance

The DOS provided expected forward movement (for “the coming months”) across all categories:


FAMILY-sponsored categories (potential monthly movement)

Worldwide dates:

   F1:  Three to five weeks
   F2A: Up to one month
   F2B: Up to one month
   F3:  Two to four weeks
   F4:  Three to five weeks

EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement)

Employment First:  Current

Employment Second:

   Worldwide:  Current
   China:         Up to three months.
   India:          Up to four months.

Employment Third:

   Worldwide:  The rapid forward movement of this final action date during the past year should generate a significant amount of demand for numbers. When such demand begins to materialize it will be necessary to limit movement of this final action date. 

   China:         Up to three months.
   India:          Up to one week.
   Mexico:        Will remain at the worldwide date.
   Philippines:   Up to three weeks 

Employment Fourth:  Current for most countries.

   El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras: up to two months

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

   China-mainland born:  Slow forward movement.

The above projections for the Family and Employment categories indicate what is likely to happen on a monthly basis through January 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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