December 2018 Visa Bulletin – Modest Forward Movement Across Most Preference Categories
by Foster LLP, on Immigration Updates
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) published the Monthly Visa Bulletin for December 2018, showing modest forward movement for all EB-1, EB-2 China and India, EB-3 India and Philippines, Other Workers China, India, and Philippines, and EB-5 China and Vietnam, with the remainder of the priority dates remaining current or backlogged.
Continued Earlier Dates for Filing AOS
Additionally, as since the September 2018 Visa Bulletin, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) confirmed that it would accept adjustment of status applications filed based on the filing cut-off dates, rather than the final action cut-off dates.
This should continue to be a great benefit for many applicants and their dependent family members physically residing in the U.S. whose priority dates are significantly backlogged to be able to:
- Receive Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) and Advance Parole Documents; and,
- Potentially become eligible sooner for immigrant visa portability.
Although CIS will begin accepting adjustment of status applications under the typically earlier filing cut-off dates, the applicant’s priority date must be current under the “final action cut-off date” before CIS can finally approve the application.
December 2018 Visa Bulletin
The changes from the November 2018 Bulletin to December 2018 Visa Bulletin were:
- EB-1: All Chargeability Areas – Forward progress of three months
- EB-2: China – Forward progress of one month and two weeks to July 15, 2015; India – Forward progress of one week to April 1, 2009
- EB-3: India – Forward progress of two months to March 1, 2009; Philippines – Forward progress of one week to June 15, 2017
- Other Workers: China – Forward progress of one month to June 1, 2007; India – Forward progress of two months to March 1, 2009; Philippines – Forward progress of one week to June 15, 2017
- EB-5: China – Forward progress of one week to August 22, 2014; Vietnam – Forward progress of three months to May 1, 2016
In both the EB-5 Regional Center and the EB-5 Non-Regional Center categories, the “Filing Cut-Off Dates” are current for applicants born in all countries except for mainland China, which is backlogged to October 1, 2014, allowing for filing of adjustment of status applications for those with approved I-526 petitions who are residing in the U.S.
“Final Action Dates” for the EB-5 Regional Center category for all countries were “unavailable” and immigrant visas could not be issued in October, but for the months of November and December, the Final Action Dates reflect an update in availability to match EB-5 Non-Regional Center. In the EB-5 Non-Regional Center category, the “Final Action Dates” are current for all countries except China and Vietnam, which continue to be backlogged but with minor forward movement: currently backlogged at August 22, 2014 for China, and May 1, 2016 for Vietnam.
Applicants whose priority dates are backlogged are recommended to review the filing cut-off dates below to determine if they may be eligible to file during the month of December.
Applicants who will become eligible to file immigrant visa applications in December should also initiate applications now with their Foster immigration attorney to plan for the earliest possible filing date in the month of December.