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December Visa Bulletin Shows Little Change

10 Nov

The U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) recently published Monthly Visa Bulletin for December does not contain any changes to the “filing cutoff date” for individuals in the Employment-based, First, Second or Third Preference categories (EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3). This means that the new Visa Bulletin does not open up any new filing eligibility for these categories.

While the “filing cutoff date” remained the same for all countries of birth, the “final action cutoff date” moved forward slightly for several categories. The largest progression in the “final action cutoff date” was by ten (10) months for EB-2 applicants born in India to June 01, 2007. The “final action cutoff date” also progressed by three (3) months for EB-3 China to April 15, 2012; three (3) weeks for EB-3 India to April 22, 2004; and two (2) weeks for those born in all other areas of chargeability to September 1, 2015.

As a reminder, in October the DOS began including two separate cutoff dates under backlogged categories. The “filing cutoff date” represents the cutoff date for filing new Applications to Adjust Status to Permanent Resident (green card) with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS). The “final action cutoff date” represents the cutoff date for approval of pending applications. The “final action cutoff date” is the date that was traditionally published each month in the Visa Bulletin.

As a result of the changes to the visa bulletin, the CIS began allowing applicants to file I-485 Applications to Adjust Status to permanent resident even before an immigrant visa number is immediately available. The new format enables applicants and their dependent family members under backlogged categories to apply for ancillary benefits much earlier, including Employment Authorization Document (EAD) cards and Advance Parole travel documents. Earlier filing of an I-485 Application to Adjust Status to permanent resident also enables applicants to qualify for “portability” of the permanent residency process earlier, because eligibility is triggered by the passage of 180 days since the filing of the applicant’s I-485 Application to Adjust Status.

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