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April 2017 Visa Bulletin Reflects Continued Forward Progress for EB-3 China and the Philippines

14 Mar

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) published the Monthly Visa Bulletin for April 2017, which reflects similar levels and areas of advancement as reported in our March 2017 Visa Bulletin Update. The most notable advancement continues to be moderate forward progress in the “final action cut-off date” for EB-3 preference category applicants born in the Philippines and mainland China. The April 2017 Visa Bulletin also reflects modest advancement in the EB-2 category for nationals of China and India, along with only minor advancement for the remainder of the EB-3 and Other Workers categories. Visa availability under the EB-5 immigrant investor category remains current for all chargeability areas except China, which has a final action date that advanced three (3) weeks, to May 22, 2014, and a filing date of June 15, 2014.

In October 2015, the DOS began publishing two separate dates for backlogged employment-based immigrant preference categories, 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 normally 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 category and country of birth. In some months, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept applications filed based on the “filing cut-off date.” In other months, the USCIS will only permit applicants to file applications based on the later “final action cut-off date.” Each month the USCIS will separately confirm whether applicants may file based on the earlier “filing cut-off date” or the “final action cut-off date”. The applicant’s priority date must be current under the “final action cut-off date” before USCIS can finally approve the application. As Foster has noted in prior Immigration Updates, the “filing cut-off dates” have not changed since the December 2016 Visa Bulletin.

Contact Foster As Soon As Possible to Proceed with New Applications

Applicants who become eligible to file applications beginning April 1, 2017 are encouraged to contact their Foster immigration attorney now to start the process of preparing and filing of an I-485 Application to Adjust Status. By initiating these new applications as soon as possible, applicants could be in a position to file for Lawful Permanent Residency as soon as they are eligible on April 3, 2017, the first workday immediately after April 1st, which falls on a weekend this year.

As always, Foster will continue to monitor immigrant visa availability and the procedures that allow for filing Applications to Adjust Status to Lawful Permanent Resident and will provide additional information in future Immigration Updates© and on our firm’s website at www.fosterglobal.com.