Priority-date cutoffs for nearly all employment-based categories based on Final Action Dates will show no movement in November, according to the State Department’s November 2018 Visa Bulletin released Wednesday. Cutoff dates for EB-1 categories will remain in place. Only China EB-2 and the Philippines EB-3 categories will advance slightly.

Key movements:


  • The priority-date cutoffs will remain the same as in October.
  • The cutoff date for EB-1 China and EB-1 India is June 1, 2016, and for all other countries it is April 1, 2017.


  • China EB-2 will advance six weeks to May 15, 2015.
  • Priority-date cutoffs for all other EB-2 categories will remain the same as in October—March 26, 2009 for India EB-2 and current for the remaining countries.


  • The Philippines EB-3 category will advance one week to June 8, 2017.
  • Priority-date cutoffs for all other EB-3 categories will remain the same as in October—June 1, 2015 for China EB-3; Jan. 1, 2009 for India EB-3; current for the remaining countries.

Additional notes: The EB-4 category for religious workers (other than ministers) and the EB-5 Regional Center (I5 and R5) Immigrant Investor program were renewed by Congress under a temporary spending measure that funds Department of Homeland Security operations until Dec. 7, 2018.

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 May 15, 2015 Current March 26, 2009 Current Current Current Current
EB-3 June 1, 2015 Current Jan. 1, 2009 Current June 8, 2017 Current Current

The State Department also released its Dates for Filing chart for November. 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 November.

BAL Analysis: Executives in the EB-1 category are reminded that it is unlikely that any of the EB-1 countries will see forward movement before December. According to Charlie Oppenheim, chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at the State Department, it is “almost guaranteed” that a cutoff date will be imposed for both China EB-1 and India EB-1 throughout the fiscal year, i.e., through September 2019, but he also believes that there will be some forward movement in all EB-1 categories after the beginning of 2019. Applicants should continue to watch China EB-2 and EB-3 for relative priority-date cutoffs. Although in November there will be no movement in India EB-2 and EB-3, applicants should monitor movement in these categories in coming months as EB-3 may surpass EB-2 during the fiscal year.

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

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