September 2017 Visa Bulletin – Forward Progress for EB-2 Category
The U.S. Department of State published the Monthly Visa Bulletin for September 2017, moving forward nine (9) months to January 1, 2016 the previously announced “cut-off date” for the EB-2 Category under the “Final Action cut off dates,” except for India and China which remain further backlogged. There was only modest forward movement for China of three weeks and for India of one month. The EB-3 category remains “current” for all countries except: China (same as August Visa Bulletin at January 1, 2012), India (forward 3 months to October 15, 2006) and the Philippines (forward 5 months to November 1, 2015).
The EB-1 category remains current for all countries except China and India, which remain at January 1, 2012. However, with the new fiscal year and allotment of immigrant visas in October, it is anticipated that China and India EB-1 will also become current.
As a reminder, in October 2015 the DOS began publishing two separate dates for backlogged employment-based immigrant preference categories, 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. In some months, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept applications filed based on the “filing cut-off date.” In other months, the USCIS will only permit applicants to file applications based on the later “final action cut-off date.” Each month the USCIS will separately confirm whether applicants may file based on the earlier “filing cut-off date” or the “final action cut-off date”. 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 applications beginning in September should initiate their applications with their Foster attorneys now to ensure the earliest filing date possible in the month of September. Foster will continue to monitor immigrant visa availability and will provide updates as they become available via future Immigration Updates© and via Foster’s website at www.fosterglobal.com.