August 2016 Visa Bulletin

Written by Alexander J. Segal on

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Introduction

On July 11, 2016, the Department of State (DOS) released the Visa Bulletin for August 2016 [link]. The Visa Bulletin contains application final action dates and dates for filing adjustment of status applications [see category] in the family sponsored [see category] and employment-based [see category] preference categories. On July 13, 2016, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determined that applicants for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residency in the family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories must use the application final action dates from the DOS Visa Bulletin rather than the Dates for Filing [link] [see article on final action dates and dates for filing]. In this article, we will examine and reproduce the application final action date charts from the Visa Bulletin for August 2016.

To compare to the Visa Bulletin for July 2016, please see our full article [see article].

Using the Charts

In order to file an adjustment of status application, the applicant's priority date must be before the cutoff date listed in the appropriate section of the DOS Visa Bulletin chart. In general, an applicant's priority date will be the date on which his or her relative or employer filed the underlying immigrant visa petition. However, for employment-based petitions for which labor certification was required, the priority date is the date on which the labor certification application was accepted for processing by the Department of Labor (DOL). The priority date for the beneficiary of an approved family-sponsored immigrant visa petition filed by an immediate relative is always current, regardless of the date on which it was filed. Accordingly, the immediate relative category is not included on the DOS Visa Bulletin.

In order for the beneficiary of an approved immigrant visa petition in one of the family-sponsored or employment-based preference categories to determine his or her cutoff date on the DOS Visa Bulletin for July 2016, he or she must find the appropriate preference category row and then find his or her appropriate country column. If the cutoff date is “C,” the beneficiary of an approved immigrant visa petition in that category is eligible to file for adjustment of status immediately.

Application Final Action Dates for Filing Family Sponsored Preference Cases

Family-
 Sponsored

All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed

CHINA-
mainland
 born

INDIA

MEXICO

PHILIPPINES

F1

22MAY09

22MAY09

22MAY09

08MAR95

22MAR05

F2A

15NOV14

15NOV14

15NOV14

01SEP14

15NOV14

F2B

08JAN10

08JAN10

08JAN10

08SEP95

15SEP05

F3

01DEC04

01DEC04

01DEC04

22OCT94

15MAR94

F4

15SEP03

01JAN03

01JAN01

15APR97

01FEB93

 

Discussion

The Visa Bulletin for August 2016 shows little movement from the Visa Bulletin for July 2016 [see article], with some areas seeing 1-2 month forward movement in the application final action dates and others (notably the F2A category across the board) no movement at all. There was no retrogression in the final action dates in the August 2016 Visa Bulletin [see article on visa retrogression].

Application Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases

Employment- Based

All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed

CHINA — mainland born

EL SALVADOR GUATEMALA HONDURAS

INDIA

MEXICO

PHILIPPINES

1st

C

01JAN10

C

01JAN10

C

C

2nd

01FEB14

01JAN10

01FEB14

15NOV04

01FEB14

01FEB14

3rd

15MAR16

01JAN10

15MAR16

08NOV04

15MAR16

15MAY09

Other Workers

15MAR16

01JAN04

15MAR16

08NOV04

15MAR16

15MAY09

4th

C

C

01JAN10

01JAN10

01JAN10

C

Certain Religious Workers

C

C

01JAN10

01JAN10

01JAN10

C

5th
Non-Regional
Center
(C5 and T5)

C

15FEB14

C

C

C

C

5th
Regional
Center
(I5 and R5)

C

15FEB14

C

C

C

C

 

Discussion

In order to stay within the worldwide limit for the allocation of employment-based immigrant visa for the current fiscal year, the application final action dates in certain categories retrogressed from the July 2016 Visa Bulletin.

First, the final action cutoff dates for the India EB4 and Certain Religious Workers categories moved from current in the July 2016 Visa Bulletin to a date of January 1, 2010, in the August 2016 Visa Bulletin. The DOS explains that this is because of high demand in both categories, “primarily for Juvenile Court Dependent cases filed with the [USCIS].” The Visa Bulletin advises that the final action dates for both of these categories will again be current in October (which is the beginning of the next fiscal year).

Second, the final action cutoff dates for the China and India EB1 categories moved from current in the July 2016 Visa Bulletin to January 1, 2010, in the August 2016 Visa Bulletin. The DOS explains that this was necessary in order to hold the number within the EB1 annual limit for the current fiscal year. The Visa Bulletin advises that the final action dates for both of these categories will again be current in October.

Third, the final action cutoff dates for the El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the Philippines EB2 categories moved from current in the July 2016 Visa Bulletin to February 1, 2014 in the August 2016 Visa Bulletin. This is because continued high demand in these categories required that the DOS establish a priority date for the August 2016 Visa Bulletin in order to hold the number within the EB2 annual limit for the current fiscal year. The Visa Bulletin advises that the dates for all three of these categories will again be current in October.

Outside of the categories listed above, the final action cutoff dates generally remained the same or saw slight forward movement from the July 2016 Visa Bulletin to the August 2016 Visa Bulletin.

Conclusion

It is important for the beneficiaries of approved immigrant visa petitions to stay abreast of movement in the DOS Visa Bulletin in order to have an idea of when they may be able to apply for an immigrant visa. Applicants are well advised to consult with an experienced immigration attorney for guidance on navigating issues such as priority date retrogression or applying for adjustment of status when an immigrant visa number becomes available.

The USCIS provides a useful chart illustrating how the adjustment of status process works. We have reproduced the chart below for your convenience:

 August 2016