Very similar to last month, many categories remain current in the February 2018 Visa Bulletin (VB). The exceptions continue to be the EB-2 and EB-3 categories for both India and China, as well as the EB-3 category for the Philippines. The non-regional center EB-5 category for all countries (except China) remains current; however, the regional center EB-5 category for all countries will remain unavailable unless the current EB-5 program is extended past the most recent extension, which expires on January 19, 2018.
This month’s VB highlights are as follows:
EB-1: All countries remain current and are expected to remain current in the coming months. However, there continues to be a possibility of retrogression of the final action dates for China and/or India later in the fiscal year (which starts October 1, 2017), as was the case last fiscal year.
EB-2: Apart from India and China, all countries are current and are expected to remain so in the foreseeable future. China and India continue to be the exceptions in that they both have final action dates that continue to experience little movement forward, and neither country is anticipated to experience meaningful movement for the next few months.
EB-3: The final action dates in this category for India, China and the Philippines did not experience any meaningful advancement. Unfortunately, all three countries are only expected to move forward incrementally in the coming months. All other countries are current and are expected to remain so in the coming months.
EB-5: On December 22, 2017, the Trump Administration signed Senate amendment to House Resolution 1370 (“Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign Authorization Act of 2017”), extending the Regional Center Program through January 19, 2018. If no legislative action is finalized extending the regional center portion of the EB-5 program after that date, the regional center final action dates will remain “Unavailable” for all countries in this visa bulletin. The non-regional center dates for all countries continue to remain current except for China, which has only experienced nominal movement and is not expected to see any large movement.
General Notes on Final Action Dates: The final action or cutoff date is effectively one’s place in line to immigrate based on the individual’s priority date. Individuals with priority dates earlier than the listed cut-off date on the VB are eligible to submit applications for adjustment of status (or consular visa applications) or if their applications are already pending may have their cases adjudicated. If one’s priority date is not “current”, neither agency may accept the case for processing nor adjudicate a pending case because the “visa is not available” if the final action dates is not “current.” The priority date is established a number of ways:
- PERM: The date on which the application is filed with the Department of Labor, provided that the PERM is approved and an I-140 is then filed and approved based on the PERM.
- EB1 & EB2 (NIW, Schedule A): The date on which the I-140 is filed with the USCIS, provided that the petition is approved.
- EB-5: The date on which the Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur is received by USCIS, provided that the petition is approved.
- Family-based immigration cases: The date on which the I-130 is filed with the USCIS, provided that the petition is approved.
Note that DOS looks at one’s country of birth in determining whether one is a national of a given country, not the country of citizenship. It is country of birth (principal alien or his/her spouse) that determines the country of chargeability to be “counted” against for purposes of permanent residency. Counting against the country of birth of one’s spouse is called “cross-chargeability.”
For general information on visa retrogression, please see our FAQ on this subject. For more information on the Visa Bulletin and country quota movements, including information about movement in the Family-Based Quotas, please see our DOS Visa Bulletin and Quota Movement page.