The information below from the NOVEMBER 2017 Visa Bulletin summarizes “Application Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications.” These indicate when the Visa Office should notify immigrant visa applicants to assemble and submit required documentation with regard to Employment-Based Priority Dates (FB).
Unless the USCIS website indicates otherwise, individuals seeking to file adjustment of status applications with USCIS must use the “Final Action Dates” charts below to determine when they can file. When USCIS determines that more immigrant visas are available for the fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, USCIS will state on its website that applicants may instead use “Dates for Filing Visa Applications” chart in this Bulletin.
Consular officers must report documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited immigrant visas to DoS; USCIS reports applicants for adjustment of status. To the extent possible, the Visa Office (VO) has made allocations in chronological order of reported employment-based (EB) priority dates for demand received by October 6, 2017.
On the chart directly below, the listing of priority dates for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed. “C” means current, i.e., all qualified applicants are eligible for numbers. “U” means unauthorized, i.e., numbers are not authorized for issuance. (NOTE: Only applicants with priority dates earlier than the cut-off date listed below are eligible for numbers.)
**Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category (EB3 Other Workers): §203(e) of the November 1997 Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA), as amended in §1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once Employment Third Preference (EB3) Other Worker (EW) cut-off dates have reached priority dates of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the Visa Office must reduce the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year. They must make this reduction as long as necessary to offset adjustments under NACARA. Since the EW cut-off date reached its limit November 19, 1997, during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002.
The chart below reflects dates for filing visa applications within a time frame justifying immediate action in the application process. Immigrant visa applicants with priority dates earlier than the cut-off date in the chart may assemble and submit required documents to the National Visa Center (NVC), following receipt of notification from NVC with detailed instructions. Cut-off dates for oversubscribed categories are the priority dates of the first applicant who cannot submit documentation to the National Visa Center for an immigrant visa. If a category is “current,” all applicants in that category may file, regardless of priority dates.
The “C” listing indicates that a category is current. This means an applicant may file regardless of priority date. The listing of priority dates for any category indicates that only applicants with priority dates earlier than the listed priority dates may file an application.
Click here to see if USCIS has determined that an applicant may use this chart instead of the “Application Final Action Dates” chart above for filing applications for adjustment of status this month with USCIS.
The Department of State’s recorded message with cut-off date information for Final Application Action is (202) 485-7699. They update this recording on or about the 10th of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.
Given the limited availability of visa numbers and existing demand, the State Department expects to reach the FY2018 annual limit of 50 Special Immigrant Visas in the SI category early in the Fiscal Year. So the Department will hold the November Final Action Date at April 1, 2010. Number use will likely require the SI category to become “unavailable” in the coming months. Once the Department issues the annual limit of 50 visas, they will issue no further SI category visas until October 2018, under the FY2019 annual limit. This does not affect the SQ Special Immigrant Visa category for certain Iraqi and Afghan nationals employed by or on behalf of the US government in Iraq or Afghanistan, which remains current.
The cut-off date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant not within numerical limits. The Visa Office (VO) may allot an immigrant visa number only to applicants with priority dates earlier than the cut-off date. If cut-off date retrogression becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process, the VO will honor supplemental requests for numbers only if priority dates fall within new cut-off dates announced in the Visa Bulletin.
Consular officers must report to DoS documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas. USCIS reports adjustment of status (I-485) applicants.
The Visa Office has made allocations in the charts below, to the extent possible, in chronological order of reported priority dates, for demand received by October 6, 2017. If they could not satisfy all demand, they have deemed the excessive category or foreign state to be oversubscribed. The final action date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who does not fall within numerical limits.
If retrogression of a final action date becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process, the VO will honor supplemental requests for numbers only if a priority date falls within the new final action date announced in this Bulletin. Should numbers reach the annual limit at any time, that preference category would become “unavailable,” and the VO would honor no further requests for numbers.
INA §201 sets an annual minimum employment-based preference limit of 226,000. The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000. INA §202 sets the per-country limit for preference immigrants at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored (FB) and employment-based (EB) preference limits, i.e., 25,620. The dependent area limit is 2%, or 7,320.
INA §203(e) provides that the Visa Office issue family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas to eligible immigrants in order of filing. INA §203(d) entitles spouses and children of preference immigrants to the same status, and the same order of consideration, if accompanying or following to join the principal. The visa prorating provisions of §202(e) apply to allocations for a foreign state or dependent area when visa demand exceeds the per-country limit. These provisions now apply to the following oversubscribed chargeability areas: CHINA-mainland born, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, INDIA, MEXICO, and PHILIPPINES.
Priority Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth (EB4) and fifth (EB5) preferences.
Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference (EB1).
Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: 28.6% of worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first (EB-1) and second (EB2) preferences, not more than 10,000 of which are for “Other Workers.”
Certain Special Immigrants: 7.1% of worldwide level.
Employment Creation: 7.1% of worldwide level. §610 of Pub. L. 102-395 reserves not less than 3,000 for investors in targeted rural or high-unemployment area. It reserves 3,000 for investors in regional centers.
On the chart above, the listing of a date for any class indicates that it is oversubscribed. (See above, “Cut-Off Dates and Priority Dates”). “C” means current, i.e., numbers are available for all qualified applicants. “U” means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available. (NOTE: Numbers are available only to applicants with a priority date earlier than the cut-off date listed above.)