February 2018 Visa Bulletin – Significant Forward Progress for EB-3 China, Minor Progress Otherwise
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) published the Monthly Visa Bulletin for February 2018, showing significant forward progress in the third preference category for China and minor progress across the remaining employment-based categories, except for the preference categories and countries that remain current.
The EB-2 category remains current for applicants born in all countries other than India and China, which reflected minor progress of two weeks and 1 month 3 weeks, respectively. The EB-3 category remains “current” for all countries except: China (forward 5 months to September 15, 2014); India (forward 1 month to December 1, 2006); and, the Philippines (forward 2 weeks to March 1, 2016). Other Workers China moved forward 1 month, 1 week, to February 1, 2007, Other Workers India moved forward 1 month to December 1, 2006, and Other Workers Philippines moved forward 2 weeks to March 1, 2016.
The EB-5 Category remains current for all countries except for mainland China, which remains backlogged to July 22, 2014, without any advancement from the January 2018 Visa Bulletin.
Since October 2015, the DOS publishes two (2) separate 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 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 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.” USCIS has not yet indicated otherwise on their website. 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 immigrant applications in February may initiate applications with their Foster attorney now to plan for the earliest possible filing date in the month of February.