November 2017 Visa Bulletin

Written by Alexander J. Segal on

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Introduction

On October 6, 2017, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) released the November 2017 Visa Bulletin, containing the filing dates and final action dates for both the family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant visa preference categories [PDF version]. On October 13, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services determined that, for the second consecutive month, family-sponsored applicants must use the filing dates whereas employment-based applicants must use the final action dates [PDF version].

In this article, we will reproduce the relevant charts from the November 2017 Visa Bulletin for beneficiaries of approved family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant visa petitions. We will also examine news and notes from the DOS on visa trends.

November 2017 Visa Bulletin

Before reading, please see our full article on using the immigrant visa bulletin for adjustment of status hopefuls and for those who intend to apply for visas through consular processing [see article]. Please also see our article on the difference between filing dates and final action dates [see article].

For a list of past Visa Bulletin articles, please see our compendium [see article].

Family-Sponsored Cases

The USCIS determined that the beneficiaries of approved family-sponsored immigrant visa petitions will use the dates for filing charts on the November 2017 Visa Bulletin during that month. The filing dates allow for earlier filing of adjustment of status applications than do final action dates. In November 2017, the beneficiary of an approved family-sponsored immigrant visa petition may apply for adjustment of status if his or her priority date is earlier than the applicable final action date for his or her preference category and chargeability area. For family-sponsored beneficiaries, the priority date is the date on which the immigrant visa petition was properly filed.

The following is the filing dates for family-sponsored cases as provided by the USCIS:

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 01JAN12 01JAN12 01JAN12 01NOV96 01OCT07
F2A 01NOV16 01NOV16 01NOV16 01NOV16 01NOV16
F2B 01SEP11 01SEP11 01SEP11 01JAN97 01SEP07
F3 01DEC05 01DEC05 01DEC05 01OCT95 15JUN95
F4 15NOV04 15NOV04 22JUN04 08FEB98 01MAR95

For your reference, the following is the chart of final action dates for family-sponsored cases courtesy of the DOS. These dates represent the dates on which final action can be taken on an application for an immigrant visa for family-sponsored cases in November 2017. As we noted, family-sponsored beneficiaries of approved immigrant visa petitions who are eligible for adjustment of status should use the filing dates in determining whether they are eligible to apply for adjustment of status in November 2017.

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 22JAN11 22JAN11 22JAN11 01APR96 01JAN07
F2A 15NOV15 15NOV15 15NOV15 01NOV15 15NOV15
F2B 15NOV10 15NOV10 15NOV10 22JUL96 01JAN07
F3 15AUG05 15AUG05 15AUG05 08MAY95 01MAR95
F4 22MAY04 22MAY04 22OCT03 08OCT97 08JUN94

Employment-Based Cases

The USCIS determined that beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions must rely on the final action dates from the November 2017 Visa Bulletin for determining eligibility to file for adjustment of status. The beneficiary of an approved employment-based immigrant visa petition may only file for adjustment of status if his or her priority date is before the applicable final action cutoff date for his or her preference category and chargeability area. For petitions for which labor certification was required, the priority date will generally be the date on which the labor certification application was approved by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). For all other cases, the priority date will generally be the date on which the employment-based petition was properly filed.

Courtesy of the USCIS, the following are the final action dates for employment-based cases from the November 2017 Visa Bulletin:

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 15JUN13 C 08OCT08 C C
3rd C 01FEB14 C 15OCT06 C 15JAN16
Other Workers C 01APR06 C 15OCT06 C 15JAN16
4th C C 01NOV15 C 01APR16 C
Certain Religious Workers C C 01NOV15 C 01APR16 C
5th Non-Regional Center (C5 and T5) C 01JUL14 C C C C
5th Regional Center (I5 and R5) C 01JUL14 C C C C

Please remember that a priority date of “C” stands for “current.” Individuals who have a priority date of current may apply for adjustment of status in November 2017 provided that they are otherwise eligible.

News and Notes from the November 2017 Visa Bulletin

The DOS did not provide any new projections for future months based on visa trends in the November 2017 Visa Bulletin. To read about its most recent projections, please see the section of our article on the October 2017 Visa Bulletin titled “News on Visa Availability for Upcoming Months” [see article]. The November 2017 Visa Bulletin also includes a note on the Special Immigrant (SI) Translator Category. You may read our discussion of the same note in the penultimate section of the October 2017 Visa Bulletin article.

Conclusion

The beneficiary of an approved immigrant visa petition should stay abreast of visa trends if his or her immigrant visa number is not immediately available. This is especially important for those who intend to file for adjustment of status. Beneficiaries of approved immigrant visa petitions are well advised to consult with an experienced immigration attorney throughout the application process.