October Visa Bulletin

September 19, 2017

The Department of State has released the October Visa Bulletin – the first such bulletin in the 2018 fiscal year – and as expected, it shows significant forward movement for almost all categories. USCIS has separately confirmed that family-based adjustment applicants should consult the “Filing Date” charts, while employment-based adjustment applicants should consult the “Final Action” charts.

Family-Based Applicants

For the first time in a number of months, USCIS has indicated that family-based applicants should reference the “Filing Dates” chart to determine whether or not they are eligible to submit their adjustment applications. Because this chart tends to run well ahead of the “Final Action” chart, many categories have seen an effective priority date advancement of a year or more. As a reminder, applications will only be approved when they are current relative to the “Final Action” chart; however, in the meantime applicants can receive the benefits of having submitted their adjustment applications, including (in many cases) eligibility to submit EAD/AP applications.

The “Filing Date” chart is below

Employment-Based Applicants

Unlike family-based categories, employment-based adjustment applicant should continue to exclusively consult the “Final Action” chart for October. Nevertheless, many categories saw significant advancement of priority date cutoffs, and some previously backlogged categories are now current.

The “Final Action” chart is below:

Looking Forward

The Department of State has provided the following information regarding the anticipated movement of priority date cutoffs 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 one month
F3:  Three or four weeks
F4:  Two or three weeks

EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement) 

Employment First:   The category will remain “Current”.

Employment Second:

Worldwide:  Current

China:      Up to four weeks

India:      Up to one month

Employment Third:

Worldwide:  Current 

China:         Up to four months

India:          Limited forward movement

Mexico:       Current

Philippines:  Up to two months

Employment Fourth: Current for most countries.

El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras: Up to three weeks

Mexico: some forward movement

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

China-mainland born:  Up to one week

The above final action date 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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