December 2017 Visa Bulletin – Minor Forward Movement
by Foster LLP, on Immigration Updates
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) published the Monthly Visa Bulletin for December 2017, reflecting minor forward movement across all employment-based categories except for EB-1, which remains current for all countries.
The EB-2 category remains current for applicants born in all countries other than India and China. There was only modest forward movement of two and three weeks for each China and India, respectively. The EB-3 category remains “current” for all countries except: China (forward 1 month, 1 week, to March 8, 2014); India (same at October 15, 2006 since last movement in the September Visa Bulletin); and, the Philippines (same at January 15, 2016, as the November Visa Bulletin). Other Workers China moved forward 3 months to July 1, 2006, and Other Workers Philippines remained the same at January 15, 2016 as the November Visa Bulletin.
The EB-5 Category remains current for all countries except for mainland China, which remains backlogged to July 15, 2014.
As a reminder, 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.
DOS indicated in the December 2017 Visa Bulletin that unless otherwise indicated on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website that USCIS will accept employment-based applications filed based on 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.
Applicants who will become eligible to file applications starting in December should initiate their applications with their Foster Global immigration attorneys now to plan for the earliest possible filing date in the month of December.