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Employment-Based Priority Dates (EB)

Calendar 96828128 Employment-Based Priority DatesThe information below from the JANUARY 2017 Visa Bulletin summarizes “Application Final Action Dates” (consistent with prior Visa Bulletins) and “Dates for Filing Applications” indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center with regard to Employment-Based Priority Dates (FB).

Unless otherwise indicated on the USCIS website, individuals seeking to file adjustment of status applications with USCIS in the DHS must use the “Final Action Dates” charts below for determining when they can file such applications. When USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for the fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, USCIS will state on its website that applicants may instead use the “Dates for Filing Visa Applications” charts in this Bulletin.

Consular officers must report documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited immigrant visas to the Department of State; USCIS reports applicants for adjustment of status. To the extent possible, the Visa Office (VO) of the US Department of State has made allocations in chronological order of reported employment-based (EB) priority dates for demand received by November 8, 2016.

Application Final Action Dates for Employment-Based (EB) Preference Cases January 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., numbers are authorized for issuance to all qualified applicants; and “U” means unauthorized, i.e., numbers are not authorized for issuance. (NOTE: Numbers are authorized for issuance only for applicants whose priority dates are earlier than the cut-off date listed below.)

**Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category (EB3 Other Workers): §203(e) of the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997, as amended by §1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference (EB3) Other Worker (EW) cut-off dates have reached the priority dates of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year. This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program. Since the EW cut-off date reached November 19, 1997, during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002.

Dates for Filing of Employment-Based Visa Applications January 2017

The chart below reflects dates for filing visa applications within a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process. Applicants for immigrant visas who have priority dates earlier than the cut-off date in the chart may assemble and submit required documents to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, following receipt of notification from the National Visa Center containing detailed instructions. The 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 designated “current,” all applicants in the relevant category may file, regardless of priority dates.

The “C” listing indicates that the category is current, and that applications may be filed regardless of the applicant’s 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 their application.

Click here to see if USCIS has determined that this chart can be used instead of the “Application Final Action Dates” chart above for filing applications for adjustment of status this month with USCIS.

The Department of State has a recorded message containing cut-off date information for Final Application Action at (202) 485-7699. They update this recording on or about the tenth of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.

Special Immigrant (SI) Translator Category Visa Availability

The Department of State expects to reach the FY-2017 annual limit of 50 Special Immigrant Visas in the SI category by the end of December 2016.  As a result, the final action date for the SI category has become “Unavailable” effective January 2017. Further issuances in the SI category will not be possible until October 2017, under the FY-2018 annual limit.

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 is not affected and remains current.

Employment-Based Fourth (EB4) and Certain Religious Workers (SR) Preference Category Visa Availability

The EB4 and SR categories are continuing to face high demand, primarily for Juvenile Court Dependent cases filed with US Citizenship and Immigration Services for adjustment of status.  Therefore, it may be necessary to retrogress the EB4 and SR Final Action Dates for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico at some point in an effort to hold number use within the maximum allowed under the FY-2017 annual limits.

Annual Report of Immigrant Visa Applicants in the Family-Sponsored and Employment-Based Preferneces Registered at the National Visa Center (NVC) as of November 1, 2016

The National Visa Center has provided the totals of applicants registered in the various numerically-limited immigrant categories for processing at overseas posts. This information is available on the Consular Affairs website. Direct link to this item.

Cut-Off Dates and Priority Dates

The cut-off date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits. Only applicants with priority dates earlier than the cut-off date may be allotted an immigrant visa number. If it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process for the Visa Office (VO) to retrogress a cut-off date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if priority dates fall within the new cut-off date announced in the Department of State Visa Bulletin.

If not all immigrant visa (IV) demand could be satisfied, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive has been deemed oversubscribed. The cut-off dates or cut-off numbers for oversubscribed categories are the priority dates of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits. Only applicants with priority dates earlier than the cut-off date may be allotted a number. If it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a cut-off date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if priority dates fall within the new cut-off dates announced in this Visa Bulletin.

Statutory Numbers and Numerical Limits

1.  Procedures for determining dates.

Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; USCIS reports applicants for adjustment of status. Allocations in the charts below were made, to the extent possible, in chronological order of reported priority dates, for demand received by December 12, 2016. If not all demand could be satisfied, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed. The final action date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits. If it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a final action date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the priority date falls within the new final action date announced in this bulletin. If at any time an annual limit were reached, it would be necessary to immediately make the preference category “unavailable”, and no further requests for numbers would be honored.

2. Annual Preference Limits

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 prescribes that the per-country limit for preference immigrants is set at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored (FB) and employment-based (EB) preference limits, i.e., 25,620. The dependent area limit is set at 2%, or 7,320.

3. Order of Issuance of Family-Based and Employment-Based Preference Visas

INA §203(e) provides that family-sponsored and employment based preference visas be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition in behalf of each has been filed. INA §203(d) provides that spouses and children of preference immigrants are entitled 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 apply at present to the following oversubscribed chargeability areas: CHINA-mainland born, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, INDIA, MEXICO, and PHILIPPINES.

Employment-Based Preference Categories (EB)

First Employment-Based Preference (EB1)

Priority Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth (EB4) and fifth (EB5) preferences.

Second Employment-Based Preference (EB2)

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).

Third Employment-Based Preference (EB3)

Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first (EB-1) and second (EB2) preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to “Other Workers.”

Fourth Employment-Based Preference (EB4)

Certain Special Immigrants: 7.1% of worldwide level.

Fifth Employment-Based Preference (EB5)

Employment Creation: 7.1% of worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by §610 of Pub. L. 102-395.

On the chart above, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see above, “Cut-Off Dates and Priority Dates”); “C” means current, i.e., numbers are available for all qualified applicants; and “U” means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available. (NOTE: Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed above.)