The employment-based third preference (EB-3) category for all nationalities is immediately unavailable through the end of the fiscal year, according to an update the State Department official in charge of the visa bulletin, Charlie Oppenheim, has provided to the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Key points:

  • Annual visa quotas have been exhausted for all EB-3 categories.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will not approve adjustment of status applications or issue visas in the EB-3 category through September.
  • Green card interviews may continue to be conducted at the discretion of USCIS.
  • Unless USCIS announces otherwise, applicants in the EB-3 category may continue to file adjustment-of-status applications according to the Final Action Dates charts in the September visa bulletin.

Background: The EB-3 category covers professionals in jobs requiring at least a bachelor’s degree, skilled workers in jobs requiring a minimum of two years of experience and other workers with less than two years of experience. In the recently published September visa bulletin, China and India EB-3 categories retrogressed with immediate effect this month, and further corrective action was predicted. India EB-1 visas were also exhausted for the fiscal year.

BAL Analysis: The corrective action indicates the high demand for immigrant visas and seasonal filling of quotas toward the end of the fiscal year. Adjustment of status applicants in the EB-3 category should plan for longer wait times, and possibly a slower recovery to pre-August priority-date cutoffs following Oct. 1 when new visas become available. Applicants should continue to plan for their green card interviews but may be contacted by USCIS to reschedule them.

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

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