January 2018 Visa Bulletin

The January 2018 visa bulletin was recently released. Most notably, EB5 Regional Center visas are currently unavailable. The immigrant investor pilot program was extended through December 22, 2017. If there is legislative action that extends the program beyond December 22, 2017, the final action date will become current for all countries other than China and July 22, 2014 for Chinese citizens.

 

January 2018

For all countries except India, China, Philippines, and Mexico: F2A category priority date advances 41 days to 1 February 2016, F2B preference advances 9 days to a PD of 1 December 2010, F4 category advances 14 days to 22 June 2004; EB1, EB2, and EB3 all remain current.

For India only:  F2A category advances 41 days with the priority date 1 February 2016, F2B preference advances 9 days to a PD of 1 December 2010, F4 advances 23 days to a PD of 15 December 2003; EB1 remains current; EB2 advances 21 days to a PD of 22 November 2008; EB3 advances 17 days to a PD of 1 November 2006.

For China Only: EB1 returns to current; EB2 advances 38 days to 8 August 2013; EB3 advances 38 days to a PD of 15 April 2014; EB5 Non-Regional Center advance 7 days to a PD of 15 July 2014; EB5 Regional Center is unavailable.

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 

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Notes copied from the Department of State regarding Visa availability:

*NOTE: For January, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 01JAN16. F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 01JAN16 and earlier than 01FEB16. 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 January 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.   SCHEDULED EXPIRATION OF TWO EMPLOYMENT VISA CATEGORIES

Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR):

Pursuant to the continuing resolution, signed on December 7, 2017, the non-minister special immigrant program expires on December 22, 2017. No SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after midnight December 21, 2017. Visas issued prior to this date will only be issued with a validity date of December 21, 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 21, 2017.

The final action date for this category has been listed as “Unavailable” for January. If there is legislative action extending this category for FY-2018, the final action date would immediately become “Current” for January for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras which would be subject to a December 1, 2015 final action date, and for Mexico which would be subject to a June 1, 2016 date.

Employment Fifth Preference Categories (I5 and R5):

The continuing resolution signed on December 7, 2017 extended this immigrant investor pilot program until December 22, 2017. The I5 and R5 visas may be issued until close of business on December 22, 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 22, 2017.

The final action dates for the I5 and R5 categories have been listed as “Unavailable” for January. If there is legislative action extending them for FY-2018, the final action dates would immediately become “Current” for January for all countries except China-mainland born I5 and R5 which would be subject to a July 22, 2014 final action date.

F.  ANNUAL REPORT OF IMMIGRANT VISA APPLICANTS IN THE FAMILY-SPONSORED AND EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES REGISTERED AT THE NATIONAL VISA CENTER AS OF NOVEMBER 1, 2017

The National Visa Center has provided the totals of applicants who are registered in the various numerically-limited immigrant categories for processing at overseas posts. This information is available on the Consular Affairs www.travel.state.gov website. The direct link to the item is:

https://travel.state.gov/content/dam/visas/Statistics/Immigrant-Statistics/WaitingList/WaitingListItem_2017.pdf