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October 2018 Visa Bulletin – Return from Retrogression & Earlier Acceptance of AOS Filings

19 Sep

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) published the Monthly Visa Bulletin for October 2018, which reflected the return from retrogression for the EB-2, EB-3, and Other Workers categories, and forward progress but continued backlog in the EB-1 category.

Earlier Dates for Filing AOS

Additionally, for the month of October 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 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 be a great benefit for many applicants and their dependent family members who are physically residing in the U.S. whose priority dates are significantly backlogged to be able to:

  1. Receive Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) and Advance Parole Documents; and,
  2. Potentially become eligible sooner for immigrant visa portability.

Although USCIS will begin accepting adjustment of status applications under the often earlier filing cut-off dates, the applicant’s priority date must be current under the “final action cut-off date” before USCIS can finally approve the application.

October 2018 Visa Bulletin

For the September 2018 Visa Bulletin, Foster reported worldwide retrogression for all chargeability areas for the EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, and Other Workers categories. The retrogression was attributed to a high demand overall for immigrant visas. Foster anticipated that this retrogression would be temporary, lasting until the beginning of the next fiscal year on October 1, 2018. Although EB-1 remains backlogged with some forward process, EB-2, EB-3, and Other Workers moved forward to current priority dates for all chargeability areas except those listed.

The “Filing Cut Off Dates” in both the EB-5 Regional Center and the EB-5 Non Regional Center categories 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.

However, “Final Action Dates” for the EB-5 Regional Center category for all countries are “unavailable” and so immigrant visas cannot be issued in October. But in the EB-5 Non Regional Center category, the “Final Action Dates” are current for all countries except China and Vietnam which are backlogged at August 15, 2014 for China and January 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 October.

Applicants who will become eligible to file immigrant visa applications in October should also initiate applications now with their Foster immigration attorney to plan for the earliest possible filing date in the month of October.