March 2017 Immigrant Visa Bulletin

Written by Alexander J. Segal on

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Introduction

On February 8, 2017, the Department of State (DOS) released the Visa Bulletin for March 2017 [PDF version]. The March 2017 Visa Bulletin contains application final action dates and dates for filing for immigrant visas in both the family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories. The dates in the bulletin will be effective for March of 2017.

On February 15, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released its adjustment of status filing charts based on the Visa Bulletin [link]. The USCIS determined that family-sponsored immigrant visa applicants may use the dates for filing, whereas employment-based immigrant visa applicants must use the application final action dates in March of 2017.

March 2017 Immigrant Visa Bulletin

In this article, we will include the important charts from the March 2017 Visa Bulletin for those seeking immigrant visas in the family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories. To learn more about using the immigrant visa bulletin for filing for adjustment of status, please see our comprehensive guide on the subject [see article]. Please see our blog to understand the difference between dates for filing and application final action dates [see blog].

Please see our article on the January 2017 Visa Bulletin to compare to one of the previous editions [see blog].

Family-Sponsored Cases

The beneficiary of an approved immigrant visa petition in one of the family-sponsored preference categories may file for adjustment of status in March of 2017 if his or her priority date is before the appropriate filing date on the following chart. In order to determine the applicable filing date, the individual must match his or her preference category with his or her country of nationality.

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 01JAN11 01JAN11 01JAN11 01JUN95 01MAY06
F2A 22NOV15 22NOV15 22NOV15 22NOV15 22NOV15
F2B 08FEB11 08FEB11 08FEB11 01JUN96 01FEB07
F3 22AUG05 22AUG05 22AUG05 01MAY95 01JAN95
F4 01JUL04 01JUL04 01MAY04 01DEC97 01APR94

The following chart contains the application final action dates for family-sponsored immigrant visas in March of 2017. These dates are the dates on which final action may be taken on an immigrant visa application. However, those seeking adjustment of status in a family-sponsored preference category should refer to the more favorable dates for filing listed in the previous chart.

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 01JUN10 01JUN10 01JUN10 15MAY95 15DEC05
F2A 08MAY15 08MAY15 08MAY15 22APR15 08MAY15
F2B 15AUG10 15AUG10 15AUG10 22NOV95 01MAY06
F3 22APR05 22APR05 22APR05 22DEC94 08SEP94
F4 22FEB04 22FEB04 22JUL03 01JUN97 01AUG93

Employment-Based Cases

For the third consecutive month, the USCIS determined that employment-based adjustment of status applicants must use the application final action dates instead of the dates for filing. The following chart contains the application final action dates from the March 2017 Visa Bulletin. Please note that a date of “C” stands for current, meaning that the beneficiary of an approved employment-based petition in the category that is current will be able to file for adjustment of status in March 2017 regardless of his or her priority date.

Employment-Based All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born El SALVADOR GUATEMALA HONDURAS INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C C
2nd C 15DEC12 C 01JUN08 C C
3rd 01DEC16 15MAR14 01DEC16 22MAR05 01DEC16 15MAR12
Other Workers 01DEC16 01FEB06 01DEC16 22MAR05 01DEC16 15MAR12
4th C C 15JUL15 C 15JUL15 C
Certain Religious Workers C C 15JUL15 C 15JUL15 C
5th Non-Regional Center (C5 and T5) C 01MAY14 C C C C
5th Regional Center (I5 and R5) C 01MAY14 C C C C

 

News from the DOS: Visa Ability in the Coming Months

The March 2017 Visa Bulletin contains projections for movement in subsequent editions of the Visa Bulletin.

The following are the DOS projections for the family-sponsored categories (worldwide):

  • F1: Up to several months;
  • F2A: Up to one month;
  • F2B: Up to five weeks;
  • F3: Three or four weeks; and
  • F4: Two or three weeks.

The following are the DOS projections for the employment-based categories:

  • EB1 (Worldwide): Current;
  • EB1 (China and India): Current until August;
  • EB2 (Worldwide): Current;
  • EB2 (China): Up to five weeks;
  • EB2 (India): Up to one month;
  • EB3 (Worldwide): Up to three weeks;
  • EB3 (China): Up to six months;
  • EB3 (India): Extremely limited forward movement;
  • EB3 (Mexico): Will remain at worldwide date;
  • EB3 (Philippines): Up to six months;
  • EB4 (Most countries): Current;
  • EB4 (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico): Some movement may be possible during summer months;
  • EB5 (Most countries): Current;
  • EB5 (China): Up to two weeks.

The DOS notes that the projections “indicate what is likely to happen on a monthly basis through May or June based on current applicant demand patterns.” Accordingly, the DOS notes that the “determination of the final action dates is subject to fluctuations in applicant demand and a number of other variables.” The projections provide valuable information, but do not constitute any guarantees for future Visa Bulletins.

Conclusion

It is crucial for the beneficiaries of approved immigrant visa petitions to monitor the Immigrant Visa Bulletin to have an idea of when an immigrant visa may become available. This is especially important for those planning to apply for adjustment of status. Immigrant visa hopefuls should consult with an experienced immigration attorney for guidance throughout the entire process.