March 2018 Visa Bulletin – Moderate Forward Progress Across Preference Categories
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) published the Monthly Visa Bulletin for March 2018, reflecting moderate forward progress across the employment-based preference categories, other than those that remain current.
The EB-1 category remains current for applicants born in all countries, and the EB-2 category is current other than India and China, which reflected minor progress of one week and 2 months 1 week, respectively. The EB-3 category remains “current” for all countries except: China (forward 2 months to November 15, 2014); India (forward 1 month to January 1, 2007); and, the Philippines (forward 2 months to May 1, 2016). Other Workers China moved forward 1 month to March 1, 2007, Other Works India moved forward 1 month to January 1, 2007, and Other Workers Philippines moved forward 2 months to May 1, 2016.
The EB-5 Category remains current for applicants born in all countries except for mainland China, which remains backlogged without any advancement since the January 2018 Visa Bulletin to July 22, 2014.
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 confirmed that the final action cut-off dates will be used for employment-based preference filings for March 2018. 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 March should initiate applications with their Foster attorney now to plan for the earliest possible filing date in the month of March.