Department of State Releases May 2017 Visa Bulletin

may visa bulletinExpect some retrogression in EB-1 and EB-2 cutoff dates in the coming months.

The US Department of State has released its May 2017 Visa Bulletin setting out per-country priority date cutoffs that regulate immigrant visa availability and the flow of status adjustments and consular immigrant visa application filings and approvals.

What Does the May 2017 Visa Bulletin Say?

The May 2017 Visa Bulletin includes both a Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart and an Application Final Action Dates chart. The former indicates when intending immigrants may file their applications for adjustments of status or immigrant visas, and the latter indicates when adjustment of status applications or immigrant visa applications may be approved and permanent residence granted.

If US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines that there are more immigrant visas available for a fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, it will state on its website that applicants may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart. Otherwise, applicants should use the Application Final Action Dates chart to determine when they may file their adjustment of status applications.

It is not yet clear which chart USCIS will select for May 2017 filings. To be eligible to file an employment-based (EB) adjustment application in May 2017, a foreign national must have a priority date that is earlier than the date listed below for his or her preference category and country (changes from last month’s Visa Bulletin are shown in yellow).

Application Final Action Dates

EB All Charge-

ability 

Areas Except

Those Listed
China

(mainland 

born)
El Salvador,
Guatemala,
and Honduras
India Mexico Philippines
1st C C C C C C
2nd C 08FEB13 (was 15JAN13) C 22JUN08 C C
3rd 15MAR17 (was 15FEB17) 01OCT14 (was 15AUG14) 15MAR17(was 15FEB17) 25MAR05 (was 24MAR05) 15MAR17(was 15FEB17) 01JAN13(was 15SEP12)
Other Workers 15MAR17 (was 15FEB17) 08MAR06 (was 01MAR06) 15MAR17 (was 15FEB17) 25MAR05 (was 24MAR05 ) 15MAR17 (was 15FEB17) 01JAN13 (was 15SEP12)

Dates for Filing Visa Applications

EB All Charge-

ability 

Areas Except

Those Listed
China

(mainland 

born)
India Mexico Philippines
1st C C C C C
2nd C 01OCT13 (was 01MAR13) 01FEB09 (was 22APR09) C C
3rd C 01SEP15 (was 01MAY14) 22APR06 (was 01JUL05) C 01JUL14 (was 01SEP13)
Other Workers C 01JUN08 (was 01AUG09) 22APR06 (was 01JUL05) C 001JUL14 (was 01SEP13)

On the Application Final Action Dates chart, the cutoff dates for EB-1 will remain “current” for all chargeable countries, including India and China.

The EB-2 cutoff dates for the worldwide allotment as well as for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the Philippines will also remain “current.” Cutoff dates will advance by one month for EB-2 India and by three weeks for EB-2 China.

The EB-3 cutoff dates for the worldwide allotment as well as for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico will advance by one month to March 15, 2017. The cutoff date for EB-3 China will advance by six weeks to October 1, 2014 and the cutoff date for EB-3 India will advance by one day to March 25, 2005. The cutoff date for EB-3 Philippines will advance by three and a half months to January 1, 2013.

The EB-5 China cutoff date will advance by ten days to June 1, 2014.

On the Dates for Filing chart, the cutoff dates for EB-1 will remain “current” for all chargeable countries, including India and China.

The EB-2 cutoff dates for the worldwide allotment as well as for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the Philippines will also remain “current.” Cutoff dates for EB-2 China will advance by seven months to October 1, 2013. Cutoff dates for EB-2 India will retrogress by three months and three weeks, to February 1, 2009.

Cutoff dates for EB-3 China will advance by 16 months to September 1, 2015, but for “other workers” the cutoff dates will retrogress by 14 months, to June 1, 2008. Cutoff dates for EB-3 India will advance by nine months and three weeks, to April 22, 2006. Finally, cutoff dates for EB-3 Philippines will advance by ten months, to July 1, 2014.

The State Department projected that a Final Action date will be established in the EB-1 category for China and India in the near future. Visa numbers would advance slowly for the remainder of this fiscal year. Additionally, the EB-2 category for the worldwide allotment, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the Philippines is expected to retrogress no later than July. It is anticipated that this category will also become current at the start of the FY 2018 in October.

Read the May 2017 Visa Bulletin.

Copyright © 2017 by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. All Rights Reserved.

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