The Department of State (DOS) has released the November 2017 Visa Bulletin. The Bulletin announces the dates when employment- or family-based applications for immigrant status may be filed with USCIS on the basis of petitions previously submitted by applicants’ employers or family members.
As was the case for the October Visa Bulletin, USCIS has instructed family-based applicants to use the “Dates for Filing” chart, while employment-based applicants must continue to use the “Final Action Dates” chart. While family-based applications will still not be approved until they are current according to the Final Action Date chart, applicants may file according to the earlier “Dates for Filing” chart in order to gain work and travel authorization while they wait for their applications to be processed.
Final Action Dates:
Employment-based categories have seen some forward movement since the October bulletin. While no categories that were previously backlogged have become current (as was the case in October), several have advanced a few weeks to a month. Second preference category petitions (EB-2 petitions, for employees with advanced degrees or “exceptional ability” in arts, science or business) for China and India both advanced approximately three weeks. Third preference category petitions (EB-3 petitions, for skilled workers and professionals) advanced a full month for China and two weeks for the Philippines, but did not advance at all for India. Finally, petitions under the fifth preference category (EB-5 petitions, for entrepreneurs investing in U.S. businesses) remained current for all countries except China, which advanced approximately two weeks but remains backlogged with a cutoff date of July 1st, 2014. First preference category petitions (EB-1 petitions, for employees with extraordinary ability), remain current for all countries.
Dates for Filing:
Unlike the employment-based categories, none of the family-based preference categories have seen forward movement since the October 2017 Visa Bulletin. While this is disappointing, it is important to note that the October bulletin was the first of the 2018 fiscal year. Since new visa numbers become available at the beginning of each fiscal year, the October bulletin showed significant advancement across almost all preference categories. This month’s lack of forward movement is probably the result of the processing demands created by the resulting influx of applications.
Green and Spiegel will continue to monitor the processing of preference category applications and will provide further updates as more information becomes available. For further guidance on adjustment of status processing and other immigration matters, please visit our website - www.gands.com/en-us/.