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August 2016 Visa Bulletin – EB-1 India/China and EB-2 ROW Cutoff Dates Introduced

Home/Articles, I-485, News, News Alert, Visa Bulletin/August 2016 Visa Bulletin – EB-1 India/China and EB-2 ROW Cutoff Dates Introduced

The U.S. State Department has just released the August 2016 Visa Bulletin which is the eleventh Visa Bulletin for the FY2016 fiscal year. The headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is introduction of a cutoff date for EB-1 India and China and EB-2 ROW, Mexico and Philippines.

Summary of the August 2016 Visa Bulletin – Employment-Based (EB)

EB Category Aug 2016 Jul 2016 Change
Employment Application Final Action Dates (determines when an I-485 or IV can be approved)
EB-1 ROW, MX, PH Current Current No change
EB-1 India, China Jan 1, 2010 Current New cutoff date
EB-2 ROW, MX, PH Feb 1, 2014 Current New cutoff date
EB-2 India Nov 15, 2004 Nov 1, 2004 Forward by 2 weeks
EB-2 China Jan 1, 2010 Jan 1, 2010 No change
EB-3 ROW Mar 15, 2016 Mar 1, 2016 Forward by 2 weeks
EB-3 India Nov 8, 2004 Oct 22, 2004 Forward by 2 weeks
EB-3 China Jan 1, 2010 Jan 1, 2010 No change
EB-3 Mexico Mar 15, 2016 Mar 1, 2016 Forward by 2 weeks
EB-3 Philippines May 15, 2009 Feb 15, 2009 Forward by 3 months
Dates for Filing Employment Visa Applications (determines when an I-485 can be filed)
USCIS will announce within a week or so. Please check this page again for an update.
EB-1 Current Current No change
EB-2 ROW, MX, PH Current Current No change
EB-2 India Jul 1, 2009 Jul 1, 2009 No change
EB-2 China Jun 1, 2013 Jun 1, 2013 No change
EB-3 ROW Current Current No change
EB-3 India Jul 1, 2005 Jul 1, 2005 No change
EB-3 China May 1, 2015 May 1, 2015 No change
EB-3 Mexico Current Current No change
EB-3 Philippines Jan 1, 2013 Jan 1, 2010 Forward by 3 years

Please note that USCIS will determine, about a week after this Visa Bulletin is published, whether or not to accept I-485 filings on the basis of these filing dates. Please see the section below.

Summary of the August 2016 Visa Bulletin – Family-Based (FB)

FB Category Aug 2016 Jul 2016 Change
Family Application Final Action Dates (determines when an I-485 or IV can be approved)
FB-1 ROW, China, India May 22, 2009 Mar 22, 2009 Forward by 2 months
FB-1 Mexico Mar 8, 1995 Mar 8, 1995 No change
FB-1 Philippines Mar 22, 2005 Feb 1, 2005 Forward by 7 weeks
FB-2A ROW, China, India, Philippines Nov 15, 2014 Nov 15, 2014 No change
FB-2A Mexico Sep 1, 2014 Sep 1, 2014 No change
Dates for Filing Family Visa Applications (determines when an I-485 can be filed)
USCIS will announce within a week or so. Please check this page again for an update.
FB-1 ROW, China, India Jan 1, 2010 Oct 1, 2009 Forwarad by 3 months
FB-1 Mexico Apr 1, 1995 Apr 1, 1995 No change
FB-1 Philippines Dec 22, 2005 Sep 1, 2005 Forwad by 2.5 months
FB-2A ROW, China, India, Philippines Nov 22, 2015 Oct 15, 2015 Forward by 5 weeks
FB-2A Mexico Nov 22, 2015 Oct 15, 2015 Forward by 5 weeks

Please note that USCIS will determine, about a week after this Visa Bulletin is published, whether or not to accept I-485 filings on the basis of these filing dates. Please see the section below.

USCIS Clarifies Its Position on Accepting I-485 Applications with Current “Filing” Date

The introduction of the “Filing” cutoff date in the October 2015 Visa Bulletin generated, initially, a lot of excitement and hope in that USCIS will be able to accept early I-485 filings. However, the reality has been very disappointing.

Additionally, USCIS has added another wrinkle causing additional delay and confusion. On October 15, 2015, USCIS announced that starting with the November 2015 Visa Bulletin, they (in addition to the Department of State) will be evaluating whether there are more immigrant visas available for a fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas based on the dates published in that month’s Visa Bulletin. This means USCIS will agree to accept the Visa Bulletin “Filing” dates for the purpose of allowing I-485 applications to be filed if (and only if) USCIS determines that there are more available visa numbers than there are known (we assume based on a number of I-485 pending cases) applicants.

According to USCIS, they will be making a determination within a week of the Visa Bulletin issuance and they will be posting their decision it to their website. USCIS will simply state whether they will honor the “Filing” dates or the “Approval” dates for the purpose of accepting I-485 applications. USCIS confirms, however, that their default position is that unless indicated otherwise, the “Approval” dates will control who can file I-485 applications.

As a result, applicants who may appear to be current under the “Filing” cutoff dates in a given Visa Bulletin would still need to wait (it appears for another week) for USCIS to announce separately whether they will honor the “Filing” cutoff date for I-485 filing acceptance. Needless to say, this creates another level of delay and confusion. Our office will do our best to provide updates and explanations on our website and newsletter but we are happy to analyze individual cases as well.

EB-1 India/China and EB-2 ROW/Mexico/Philippines Cutoff Date

As we cautioned in our last month’s Visa Bulletin report,  there is a notable development for certain EB-1 and EB-2 applicants.   The Department of State has introduced a cutoff date for the EB-1 India and China and the EB-2 ROW, Mexico and Philippines categories (which have almost always been current).

This means that applicants who are affected by this cutoff date introduction will not be able to complete their green card process either at the US Consulate or by filing or getting an approval of I-485 adjustment of status application until their priority date becomes current again.   It is expected that these categories will be current again after October 1, 2016.   Applicants who are affected by this cutoff date introduction should consider filing I-485 during the remaining days in July or wait until October 1 when it is anticipated that the dates will be current again.

Current “Date for Filing Applications”?

Our office stands ready to assist in the applicable process to take advantage of the significant restructuring in the way the cutoff dates are determined and published. Notwithstanding the lack of positive movement in the Filing cutoff dates, there are still many applicants across many of the employment and family categories who can now process their (and their family members’) I-485 Adjustment of Status applications from within the U.S. or process their immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if our office can help you take advantage of this (very time-sensitive for some) opportunity to file I-485 applications. We are also happy to provide a free quote for preparing and filing your I-485 application.

Further Updates and News

We invite you to subscribe to our free weekly immigration newsletter to receive timely updates on this and related topics. We also invite you to contact us if our office can be of any assistance in your immigration matters or you have any questions or comments about the August 2016 Visa Bulletin. Finally, if you already haven’t, please consider our Visa Bulletin Predictions tool which provides personalized predictions and charts helping you understand when a particular priority date may become current and what are the movement patterns.

By | 2017-05-20T21:47:05+00:00 July 12th, 2016|Articles, I-485, News, News Alert, Visa Bulletin|

About the Author:

Dimo R. Michailov, Esq.
As one of the senior attorneys and the founding member of the Capitol Immigration Law Group, Mr. Michailov is at the forefront of the immigration law community. He represents individuals from more than 50 countries in their quest for U.S. immigration options and solutions. He also represents companies and organizations ranging from small entrepreneurs to multinational corporations in meeting their goals to recruit, hire and retain talented foreign nationals while maintaining full compliance with the relevant immigration rules and procedures.