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Priority-date cutoffs for all EB-1 categories will advance by about two months based on Final Action Dates in February, according to the State Department’s February Visa Bulletin. EB-2 China will also advance by two months, while EB-3 China will advance by only three weeks. For Indian nationals, the EB-3 category will advance by nearly two months, while EB-2 will advance by only five days.
Additional notes: The EB-4 category for religious workers (other than ministers) and the EB-5 Regional Center (I5 and R5) Immigrant Investor program lapsed as of Dec. 21, 2018 when the temporary spending measure funding expired. If Congress extends the EB-4 category for fiscal year 2019, the final action date would immediately become current in February for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras which would be subject to a March 1, 2016 final action date, and for Mexico, which would be subject to a Sept. 1, 2017 final action date. If Congress extends the EB-5 Regional Center program, the final action date would become current for February except for China, which would be subject to a Sept.1, 2014 final action date, and for Vietnam, which would be subject to a June 15, 2016 final action date.
Application Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases:
The State Department has released its Dates for Filing chart for January and USCIS will confirm via a web posting whether it will follow the chart in determining filing eligibility for adjustment of status applicants.
BAL Analysis: The February Visa Bulletin predicts the following monthly movements in final action priority-date cutoffs for employment-based categories in upcoming months: EB-1 worldwide is expected to advance up by up to two months, while EB-1 China and India are expected to see monthly advancement of one month. EB-2 worldwide is expected to remain current for the foreseeable future, while EB-2 China is expected to advance up to three months and EB-2 India up to one week. EB-3 worldwide and Mexico are expected to remain current, while EB-3 China is expected to advance up to three weeks, and EB-3 India is expected to advance up to three months. EB-3 Philippines will advance rapidly to generate demand.
For adjustment of status applicants, in recent months USCIS has used the Dates for Filing Chart, which lists priority-date cutoffs that are normally earlier than the final action dates. However, USCIS has indicated that it anticipates using the “final action” date in February: “Based on current trends in inventory and visa use, USCIS anticipates that applicants in the employment-based preference categories will have to use the Final Action Dates chart as soon as February 2019.” BAL will report if USCIS decides to continue its previous practice of using Dates for Filing for February adjustment of status applicants.
This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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