Priority-date cutoffs for most employment-based categories based on Final Action Dates will advance significantly in October, the beginning of fiscal year 2019, according to the State Department’s October 2018 Visa Bulletin released Wednesday. All EB-2 categories, except China and India, will become current, and all EB-3 categories except China, India and the Philippines will also become current.

Key movements:


  • The priority-date cutoff for EB-1 China and EB-1 India will advance significantly to June 1, 2016 after several months of having remained at Jan. 1, 2012.
  • EB-1 for all other countries will advance 10 months to April 1, 2017.


  • China EB-2 will advance two years and three months to April 1, 2015, as will India EB-2 to March 26, 2009.
  • The remaining EB-2 categories for all other countries will return to current in October following the imposition of a priority cutoff date in September.


  • China EB-3 will advance seven months to June 1, 2015 and India EB-3 will advance by six years to Jan. 1, 2009. The Philippines EB-3 category will advance seven months to June 1, 2017.
  • The remaining EB-3 categories for all other countries will become current.

Additional notes:  The EB-4 category for religious workers (other than ministers) and the EB-5 Regional Center (I5 and R5) Immigrant Investor program are scheduled to expire at midnight on Sept. 29 unless legislative action is taken to extend them.

Application Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases:

Preference China El Salvador Guatemala Honduras India Mexico Philippines Vietnam All Other Countries
EB-1 June 1, 2016 April 1, 2017 June 1, 2016 April 1, 2017 April 1, 2017 April 1, 2017 April 1, 2017
EB-2 April 1, 2015 Current March 26, 2009 Current Current Current Current
EB-3 June 1, 2015 Current Jan. 1, 2009 Current June 1, 2017 Current Current

The State Department also released its Dates for Filing chart for October. Applicants seeking to file for adjustment of status are reminded that the chart does not take effect unless U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirms that it does via a web posting in the coming days. BAL will update clients once the State Department confirms whether the chart can be used in October. In September, USCIS used the Final Action Dates for Employment-Based cases, and is likely to use that chart for the October numbers as well.

BAL Analysis: As predicted in September’s visa bulletin, all EB-1 countries will continue to have cutoff dates imposed in October, and, according to Charlie Oppenheim, chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at the State Department, it is unlikely that any of the EB-1 categories will see forward movement before December or possibly into the second quarter of fiscal 2019. The EB-2 China is expected to move slowly through the first quarter of the year and EB-2 is expected to advance by about two weeks each month. EB-2 Worldwide is expected to remain current for the foreseeable future. EB-3 China is expected to advance by three weeks at a time, and EB-3 India is predicted to move slowly in coming months in light of the rapid progression in October.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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