December 2017 Visa Bulletin

The December 2017 visa bulletin was recently released. Most notably, the EB5 Regional Center immigrant investor pilot program has only been extended until December 8, 2017. If no legislative action is taken by then, these visas will become unavailable on December 9, 2017.

 

December 2017

For all countries except India, China, Philippines, and Mexico: F2A category priority date advances 37 days to 22 December 2015, F2B preference advances 7 days to a PD of 22 November 2010, F4 category advances 17 days to 8 June 2004; EB1, EB2, and EB3 all remain current.

For India only:  F2A category advances 37 days with the priority date 22 December 2015, F2B preference advances 7 days to a PD of 22 November 2010, F4 advances 31 days to a PD of 22 November 2003; EB1 remains current; EB2 advances 24 days to a PD of 1 November 2008; EB3 remains at a PD of 15 October 2006.

For China Only: EB1 returns to current; EB2 advances 16 days to 1 July 2013; EB3 advances 35 days to a PD of 8 March 2014; EB5 Non-Regional Center and Regional Center advance 14 days to a PD of 15 July 2014.

Can file your immigrant applications if PD before:

F2A 1 November 2016; F2B 1 September 2011; F4 15 November 2004 for All Areas except India, China, Philippines, and Mexico and 22 June 2004 for India

EB1 is current for all countries; EB2 All Countries except India and China are current; EB3 All countries except China, India, and the Philippines are current; EB2 India remains at 8 February 2009; EB3 India remains at 1 January 2008 EB2 China remains at 15 November 2013; EB3 China remains at 1 September 2015; EB5 China (RC and non-RC) remains at 1 October 2014.

*If you have any questions or comments, you are welcome to get in touch with us. Please email us at info@watsonimmigrationlaw.com 

**Copyright 2017 by Watson Immigration Law. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Notes copied from the Department of State regarding Visa availability:

*NOTE: For December, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 15NOV15. F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 15NOV15 and earlier than 22DEC15. All F2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit.

*Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category:  Section 203(e) of the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date 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.

D.  SPECIAL IMMIGRANT (SI) TRANSLATOR CATEGORY
VISA AVAILABILITY

Given the limited availability of visa numbers and the existing demand, the Department expects to reach the FY-2018 annual limit of 50 Special Immigrant Visas in the SI category early in the Fiscal Year.  As a result, it has been necessary to hold the December Final Action Date at April 1, 2010.  It is likely that number use will require the SI category to become “unavailable” in the coming months.  Once the annual limit of 50 visas is reached, further issuances in the SI category will not be possible until October 2018, under the FY-2019 annual limit.  The SQ Special Immigrant Visa category for certain Iraqi and Afghan nationals employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq or Afghanistan is not affected and remains current.

E.   RETROGRESSION OF PHILIPPINES FAMILY-SPONSORED
PREFERENCE CATEGORIES

The Philippines F1 and F2B final action dates had been advanced very rapidly during the course of the past year in an effort to generate sufficient demand to fully utilize all available numbers. In recent months the amount of applicant demand being received has been increasing at a steady pace. The level of such demand has reached a point where it has become necessary to retrogress each of those final action dates in an effort to hold number use within the annual limit for these preference categories.

F.   SCHEDULED EXPIRATION OF TWO EMPLOYMENT VISA
CATEGORIES

Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR):

Pursuant to the continuing resolution, signed on September 8, 2017, the non-minister special immigrant program expires on December 8, 2017. No SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after midnight December 7, 2017. Visas issued prior to this date will only be issued with a validity date of December 7, 2017, and all individuals seeking admission as a non-minister special immigrant must be admitted (repeat, admitted) into the U.S. no later than midnight December 7, 2017.

The final action date for this category has been listed as “Current” for December for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, which are subject to specific final action dates for December. If there is no legislative action extending this category for FY-2018, the final action date would immediately become “Unavailable” for December for all countries effective December 8, 2017.

Employment Fifth Preference Categories (I5 and R5):

The continuing resolution signed on September 8, 2017 extended this immigrant investor pilot program until December 8, 2017. The I5 and R5 visas may be issued until close of business on December 8, 2017, and may be issued for the full validity period. No I5 or R5 visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after December 8, 2017.

The final action dates for the I5 and R5 categories have been listed as “Current” for December for all countries except China-mainland born, which is subject to a July 15, 2014 final action date. If there is no legislative action extending them for FY-2018, the final action dates would immediately become “Unavailable” for December for all countries effective December 9, 2017.