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May 2017 Visa Bulletin – No Movement in EB-2 India; EB China Downgrading Opportunity; EB-1 China/India and EB-2 ROW Cutoff Date Expected

Home/Articles, EB-2, EB-3, I-485, News, News Alert, Visa Bulletin/May 2017 Visa Bulletin – No Movement in EB-2 India; EB China Downgrading Opportunity; EB-1 China/India and EB-2 ROW Cutoff Date Expected

May 2017 Visa Bulletin – No Movement in EB-2 India; EB China Downgrading Opportunity; EB-1 China/India and EB-2 ROW Cutoff Date Expected

The U.S. State Department has just released the May 2017 Visa Bulletin which is the eighth Visa Bulletin for the FY2017 fiscal year. The headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is the lack of any movement for EB-2 India, the notable 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.    Also, notable is the warning of a possible cutoff date introduction for EB-1 India and China and EB-2 ROW/Mexico/Philippines.

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

EB Category May 2017 Apr 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 22, 2008 No change
EB-2 China Feb 8, 2013 Jan 15, 2013 Forward by 3 weeks
EB-3 ROW Mar 15, 2017 Feb 15, 2017 Forward by 1 month
EB-3 India Mar 25, 2005 Mar 24, 2005 Forward by 1 day
EB-3 China Oct 1, 2014 Aug 15, 2014 Forward by 1.5 months
EB-3 Mexico Mar 15, 2016 Feb 15, 2016 Forward by 1 month
EB-3 Philippines Jan 1, 2013 Sep 15, 2012 Forward by 3.5 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 Feb 1, 2009 Apr 22, 2009 Backward by 2.5 months
EB-2 China Oct 1, 2013 Mar 1, 2013 Forward by 7 months
EB-3 ROW Current Current No change
EB-3 India Apr 22, 2006 Jul 1, 2005 Forward by 10 months
EB-3 China Sep 1, 2015 May 1, 2014 Forward by 16 months
EB-3 Mexico Current Current No change
EB-3 Philippines Jul 1, 2015 Sep 1, 2013 Forward by 10 months

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 May 2017 Visa Bulletin – Family-Based (FB)

FB Category May 2017 Apr 2017 Change
Family Application Final Action Dates (determines when an I-485 or IV can be approved)
FB-1 ROW, China, India Dec 8, 2010 Oct 15, 2010 Forward by 7 weeks
FB-1 Mexico Jun 15, 1995 May 22, 1995 Forward by 3 weeks
FB-1 Philippines Feb 1, 2006 Jan 15, 2006 Forward by 2 weeks
FB-2A ROW, China, India, Philippines Jul 15, 2015 Jun 8, 2015 Forward by 5 week
FB-2A Mexico Jun 22, 2015 May 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 Jul 22, 2011 Jan 1, 2011 Forward by 6 months
FB-1 Mexico Apr 1, 1996 Jun 1, 1995 Forward by 10 months
FB-1 Philippines Sep 8, 2007 May 1, 2006 Forward by 9 months
FB-2A ROW, China, India, Philippines Apr 8, 2016 Nov 22, 2015 Forward by 5 months
FB-2A Mexico Apr 8, 2016 Nov 22, 2015 Forward by 5 months

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 20 months (EB-3 China is at October 1, 2014 while EB-2 China is February 8, 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.

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

The Department of State is warning that they are likely to introduce 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) over the following few months.   While it is not clear when the cutoff date for EB-1 India and China may be introduced, it is likely that a cutoff date will be introduced for EB-2 ROW/Mexico/Philippines before July 2017.

Once such cutoff date is introduced, applicants who are affected 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, 2017.   Applicants who may be affected by this cutoff date introduction should consider monitoring closely the upcoming Visa Bulletins for the  next few months and be ready to move forward with a prompt I-485 filing or wait until October 1 when it is anticipated that the dates will be current again.

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 May 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.

By | 2017-05-20T21:46:57+00:00 April 11th, 2017|Articles, EB-2, EB-3, 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.