March Visa Bulletin Shows Significant Advancement for EB-2 and EB-3 China
The U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) recently published Monthly Visa Bulletin for March 2016 contains several forward changes to the “final action cutoff date” for individuals in the Employment-based, Second and Third Preference categories (EB-2 and EB-3). The largest progression in the “final action cutoff date” was by five (5) and seven (7) months for EB-2 and EB-3 applicants (respectively) born in China.
As a reminder, in October 2015 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 CIS reviews the “filing cutoff dates” against their internal backlog of applications and usage data and will not automatically accept the dates presented by the DOS. A new and important procedural step has been implemented by the CIS for applicants seeking to file their I-485 Application to Adjust Status (AOS) applications based on a current “filing cutoff date”. Several days after the DOS announces their visa bulletin each month, the USCIS will post a separate “filing cutoff date” chart to determine the eligibility for filing I-485 Application to Adjust Status applications. This CIS “filing cutoff date” will control the ability to file AOS applications with the CIS. For the March 2016 Monthly Visa Bulletin, the CIS has confirmed that applicants must use the “final action cutoff dates” for March 2016 and that there will not be different “filing cutoff dates” for March 2016.
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.
* The “Final Action Cut-off Date” is the date traditionally published each month in the Visa Bulletin before the October 2015 Visa Bulletin.
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 www.fosterglobal.com.