By Dimo R. Michailov, Esq.|March 9th, 2017|Articles, I-485, News, News Alert, Visa Bulletin|

The U.S. State Department has just released the April 2017 Visa Bulletin which is the seventh Visa Bulletin for the FY2017 fiscal year. The headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is the significant forward movement in EB-3 China which continues to create a great opportunity for EB-2 to EB-3 China downgrades and I-485 filings.    EB-2 and EB-3 India advance very slowly.

Summary of the April 2017 Visa Bulletin – Employment-Based (EB)

EB Category Apr 2017 Mar 2017 Change
Employment Application Final Action Dates (determines when an I-485 or IV can be approved)
EB-1 Current Current No change
EB-2 ROW, MX, PH Current Current No change
EB-2 India Jun 22, 2008 Jun 1, 2008 Forward by 3 weeks
EB-2 China Jan 15, 2013 Dec 15, 2012 Forward by 1 month
EB-3 ROW Feb 15, 2017 Dec 1, 2016 Forward by 2.5 months
EB-3 India Mar 24, 2005 Mar 22, 2005 Forward by 2 days
EB-3 China Aug 15, 2014 Mar 15, 2014 Forward by 4 months
EB-3 Mexico Feb 15, 2016 Dec 1, 2016 Forward by 2.5 months
EB-3 Philippines Sep 15, 2012 Mar 15, 2012 Forward by 6 months
Dates for Filing Employment Visa Applications (determines when an I-485 can be filed)
USCIS will determine and announce within a week – please check back.
EB-1 Current Current No change
EB-2 ROW, MX, PH Current Current No change
EB-2 India Apr 22, 2009 Apr 22, 2009 No change
EB-2 China Mar 1, 2013 Mar 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, 2014 May 1, 2014 No change
EB-3 Mexico Current Current No change
EB-3 Philippines Sep 1, 2013 Sep 1, 2013 No change

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 April 2017 Visa Bulletin – Family-Based (FB)

FB Category Apr 2017 Mar 2017 Change
Family Application Final Action Dates (determines when an I-485 or IV can be approved)
FB-1 ROW, China, India Oct 15, 2010 Jun 1, 2010 Forward by 3.5 months
FB-1 Mexico May 22, 1995 May 15, 1995 Forward by 1 week
FB-1 Philippines Jan 15, 2006 Dec 15, 2005 Forward by 1 month
FB-2A ROW, China, India, Philippines Jun 8, 2015 May 8, 2015 Forward by 1 month
FB-2A Mexico May 22, 2015 Apr 22, 2015 Forward by 1 month
Dates for Filing Family Visa Applications (determines when an I-485 can be filed)
USCIS will determine and announce within a week – please check back.
FB-1 ROW, China, India Jan 1, 2011 Jan 1, 2011 No change
FB-1 Mexico Jun 1, 1995 Jun 1, 1995 No change
FB-1 Philippines May 1, 2006 May 1, 2006 No change
FB-2A ROW, China, India, Philippines Nov 22, 2015 Nov 22, 2015 No change
FB-2A Mexico Nov 22, 2015 Nov 22, 2015 No change

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.

Final Action Dates for EB-3 China Ahead of EB-2 China – Favorable Conditions for Downgrading

Clients and readers who are interested in EB China will note that EB-3 China has a more favorable cutoff date than EB-2 China by about 18 months (EB-3 China is at August 15, 2014 while EB-2 China is January 15, 2013).   This is similar to what happened in 2014 when EB-3 China was more favorable and when our office handled many cases for Chinese nationals who are EB-2 applicants and who were able to downgrade to EB-3 and file their I-485 adjustment of status.

Here’s how this can work:  in some cases,  an EB-2 China applicant can seek to “downgrade” their preference category, while retaining their priority date, in order to have a current priority date under the EB-3 category and to be able to file their I-485 application.   As a background, many EB-2 PERM Labor Certifications are drafted in a way allowing the subsequent filing of an EB-3 I-140 petition on the basis of the same PERM — thereby retaining the priority date under the EB-3 category.    While it is possible to use a PERM which has already expired if it has been used in support of a previous I-140, a new EB-3 I-140 filing may not be filed under premium processing.  Filing an I-140 under regular processing may take around four to five months and it is entirely possible that by the time an EB-3 I-140 is approved, the EB-3 China cutoff dates may retrogress.

We also caution our clients and readers, especially the China employment-based applicants, that the historic average for an EB-3 China priority date to become current and for a green card under this category to be approved is still significantly higher than the historic average wait time under EB-2.   As a result, even if it is possible that an EB-3 “downgrade” may allow the I-485 filing, we still believe that ultimately, an EB-2 China application would take less time to approve.

Our office is happy to consult applicants who are in this situation and are considering filing under EB-3 to take advantage of the more advanced EB-3 China cutoff dates.   Please contact us if we can help.

 

Current Date?

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.  There are 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 April 2017 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.