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March 2018 Visa Bulletin – Continued Very Slow Forward Movement Across Most Categories

Home/AOS, Articles, EB-2, EB-3, News, News Alert, Visa Bulletin/March 2018 Visa Bulletin – Continued Very Slow Forward Movement Across Most Categories

March 2018 Visa Bulletin – Continued Very Slow Forward Movement Across Most Categories

The U.S. State Department has just released the March 2018 Visa Bulletin which is the sixth Visa Bulletin for the FY2018 fiscal year. The headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is the continued very slow forward movement in EB-2/3 India.   EB-3 China advances but appears to slow down compared to recent months.

Summary of the March 2018 Visa Bulletin – Employment-Based (EB)

EB Category Mar 2018 Feb 2018 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 Current Current No change
EB-1 China Current Current No change
EB-2 ROW, MX, PH Current Current No change
EB-2 India Dec 8, 2008 Dec 15, 2008 Forward by 1 week
EB-2 China Dec 8, 2013 Oct 1, 2013 Forward by 2 months
EB-3 ROW Current Current No change
EB-3 India Jan 1, 2007 Dec 1, 2006 Forward by 1 month
EB-3 China Nov 15, 2014 Sep 15, 2014 Forward by 2 months
EB-3 Mexico Current Current No change
EB-3 Philippines May 1, 2016 Mar 1, 2016 Forward by 2 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 USCIS’s site.
EB-1 Current Current No change
EB-2 ROW, MX, PH Current Current No change
EB-2 India Feb 8, 2009 Feb 8, 2009 No change
EB-2 China Feb 1, 2015 Nov 15, 2014 Forward by 2.5 months
EB-3 ROW Current Current No change
EB-3 India Jan 1, 2008 Jan 1, 2008 No change
EB-3 China Jan 1, 2016 Jan 1, 2016 No change
EB-3 Mexico Current Current No change
EB-3 Philippines Oct 1, 2016 Aug 1, 2016 Forward by 2 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 March 2018 Visa Bulletin – Family-Based (FB)

FB Category Mar 2018 Feb 2018 Change
Family Application Final Action Dates (determines when an I-485 or IV can be approved)
FB-1 ROW, China, India Mar 22, 2011 Mar 15, 2011 Forward by 1 week
FB-1 Mexico Jul 22, 1996 Jul 1, 1996 Forward by 3 weeks
FB-1 Philippines Oct 15, 2005 Aug 1, 2005 Forward by 2.5 months
FB-2A ROW, China, India, Philippines Mar 22, 2016 Mar 1, 2016 Forward by 3 weeks
FB-2A Mexico Mar 1, 2016 Feb 1, 2016 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 USCIS’s site.
FB-1 ROW, China, India Jan 1, 2012 Jan 1, 2012 No change
FB-1 Mexico Sep 8, 1997 Nov 1, 1996 Forward by 1 year
FB-1 Philippines Oct 1, 2007 Oct 1, 2007 No change
FB-2A ROW, China, India, Philippines May 1, 2017 Nov 1, 2016 Forward by 6 months
FB-2A Mexico May 1, 2017 Nov 1, 2016 Forward by 6 months

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

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

Clients and readers who are interested in EB China will note that EB-3 China has (again) a more favorable cutoff date than EB-2 China by about 11 months (EB-3 China is at November 15, 2014 while EB-2 China is at December 8, 2013).

Here’s how this can work:  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.    It is possible to use a PERM which has already expired if it has been used in support of a previous I-140 and in many cases it is even possible to file a new EB-3 I-140 filing under premium processing.   As a result, if the premium processing request is accepted, it may be possible to obtain an approved downgraded and current EB-3 I-140- within a few weeks, and then promptly seek to file I-485 adjustment of status which provides additional benefits such as independent work authorization (for family members too) plus AC21 job portability after 180 days.

We caution our clients and readers, especially the China employment-based applicants, that the historic average time for an EB-3 China priority date to become current and for a green card under this category to be approved is still 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 may still take slightly less time to approve.   However, for many applicants, the benefit of early I-485 filing may be worth it to go through the EB-3 “downgrade” process.

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 March 2018 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 | 2018-02-12T14:37:26+00:00 February 12th, 2018|AOS, Articles, EB-2, EB-3, 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.