The U.S. Department of State (DOS) published the Monthly Visa Bulletin for May 2018, reflecting modest progress for certain preference categories for China and India, continued retrogression for EB1 China and India, and no change for the remaining countries and preference categories.
The EB-1 category remains current for applicants born in all countries except for China and India, which retrogressed in the April 2018 Visa Bulletin by more than 6 years after having been current in prior months. The April retrogression was attributed to the high demand of applicants from these countries reaching the per country quota already for this fiscal year. The EB-1 category for India and China is expected to become current again at the beginning of the next fiscal year on October 1, 2018.
The EB-2 category remains current for countries other than China and India. The EB-2 category moved forward one month for China but remained the same for India. The EB-3 category remains current for all countries except: China (no change); India (forward 3 months to May 1, 2008); and, the Philippines (no change). The Other Workers category moved forward 1 month for China and 3 months for India while holding steady for the Philippines.
The EB-5 Category remains current for applicants born in all countries except for mainland China, which remains backlogged to July 22, 2014, without any movement since the January 2018 Visa Bulletin.
Beginning October 2015, the DOS began publishing two distinct dates for backlogged employment-based immigrant preference categories, referred to as a “filing cut-off date” and a “final action cut-off date.” Applicants may file their applications or have their applications finally adjudicated when their priority date is “current.” The priority date, which is typically the date the labor certification or immigrant petition was originally filed, is said to be “current” when the priority date is earlier than the posted cut-off date in the Monthly Visa Bulletin, based on the person’s immigrant preference category and country of birth. DOS indicated that unless otherwise indicated on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) website that CIS will accept employment-based applications filed based on the “final action cut-off date.”
CIS should confirm shortly if the final action cut-off dates will continue to be used for employment-based preference filings for May 2018 as in the past, or if the filing cut-off dates will be used. If the final action cut-off dates continue to be used, then the applicant’s priority date must be current under the “final action cut-off date” before CIS can finally approve the application.
Applicants who will become eligible to file immigrant applications in May should initiate applications now with their Foster attorney to plan for the earliest possible filing date in the month of May.