March 2018 Visa Bulletin

The March 2018 visa bulletin was recently released. Most notably, EB-5 Regional Center visas are again available through March 23, 2018 following a continuing resolution. There was also good movement forward in the F-2B category as well as the EB-2 and EB-3 China categories.

March 2018

For all countries except India, China, Philippines, and Mexico: F2A category priority date advances 21 days to 22 March 2016, F2B preference advances 45 days to a PD of 1 March 2011, F4 category advances 31 days to 22 August 2004; EB1, EB2, and EB3 all remain current.

For India only:  F2A category advances 21 days with the priority date 22 March 2016, F2B preference advances 45 days to a PD of 1 March 2011, F4 advances 24 days to a PD of 1 February 2004; EB1 remains current; EB2 advances 7 days to a PD of 15 December 2008; EB3 advances 31 days to a PD of 1 January 2007.

For China Only: EB1 remains current; EB2 advances 68 days to 8 December 2013; EB3 advances 61 days to a PD of 15 November 2014; EB5 Non-Regional Center remains at a PD of 22 July 2014; EB5 Regional Center is again available with a priority date of 22 July 2014.

Can file your immigrant applications if PD before:

F2A 1 May 2017; F2B 1 September 2011; F4 22 January 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 advances to 1 February 2015; EB3 China remains at 1 January 2016; EB5 China (RC and non-RC) remains at 1 September 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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*NOTE: For March, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 01MAR16. F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 01MAR16 and earlier than 22MAR16. All F2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit.

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 this year. As a result, it has been necessary to maintain a March Final Action Date of April 22, 2012. 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.  VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS

Continued heavy applicant demand is expected to result in the Vietnam Employment Fifth preference category reaching the per-country annual limit during March.  Once this happens the category will become subject to a final action date, and visa availability for the remainder of FY-2018 will be dependent upon the extent to which otherwise unused numbers are available.

F.  SCHEDULED EXPIRATION OF TWO EMPLOYMENT VISA CATEGORIES

Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR):

Pursuant to the continuing resolution, signed on February 9, 2018, the non-minister special immigrant program expires on March 23, 2018. No SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after midnight March 22, 2018. Visas issued prior to this date will only be issued with a validity date of March 22, 2018, and all individuals seeking admission as a non-minister special immigrant must be admitted (repeat, admitted) into the U.S. no later than midnight March 22, 2018.

If there is no legislative action extending this category for FY-2018, the final action date would immediately become “Unavailable” for March for all countries.

Employment Fifth Preference Categories (I5 and R5):

The continuing resolution signed on February 9, 2018 extended this immigrant investor pilot program until March 23, 2018. The I5 and R5 visas may be issued until close of business on March 23, 2018, 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 March 23, 2018.

If there is no legislative action extending this category for FY-2018, the final action date would  immediately become “Unavailable” for March for all countries.