November 2018 Visa Bulletin and Adjustment of Status Filing Charts

Alexander J. Segal's picture

Introduction

On October 5, 2018, the U.S. Department of State published the Visa Bulletin for November 2018 [PDF version]. The Visa Bulletin for November 2018 contains final action dates and dates for filing for the family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories. On October 12, 2018, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determined that beneficiaries of approved immigrant visa petitions in the family- and employment-based preferences who are applying for adjustment of status must use the more favorable filing dates for determining eligibility to file for adjustment in November [PDF version].

In this article, we will review the relevant charts and news from the Visa Bulletin for November 2018. Furthermore, we will also discuss notes from the Visa Bulletin for October 2018 since we did not publish an article on that subject.

If you are not familiar with the Visa Bulletins, please see our primer on the subject [see article]. For a discussion of the distinction between final action dates and filing dates, please see our article on that issue [see article]. Finally, to read about visa bulletins from past fiscal years, please see our index [see index].

Family-Sponsored Cases in the November 2018 Visa Bulletin

The USCIS determined that the beneficiaries of approved family-sponsored immigrant visa petitions in the preference categories who are applying for adjustment of status must rely on the filing dates from the November Visa Bulletin. This is good news for family-sponsored adjustment applicants because the filing dates are more favorable to applicants than are the final action dates. It is worth noting that family-sponsored adjustment applicants were able to use the filing dates for the entirety of fiscal year 2018 (Oct. 2017-Sep. 2018).

In order to be eligible for adjustment of status in one of the family-sponsored preferences, the applicant's priority date must be earlier than the applicable filing date cutoff for his or her applicable family-sponsored preference category and chargeability area on the Bulletin. For family-sponsored cases, the priority date is generally the date on which the immigrant visa petition was properly filed on the beneficiary's behalf with the USCIS. Furthermore, in order to apply for adjustment of status instead of applying for a visa abroad, the applicant must otherwise be eligible for adjustment under the relevant laws.

Below are the family-sponsored filing dates from the Visa Bulletin for November 2018:

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 08MAR12 08MAR12 08MAR12 08OCT98 15FEB08
F2A 01DEC17 01DEC17 01DEC17 01DEC17 01DEC17
F2B 22MAR14 22MAR14 22MAR14 22JUN97 15DEC07
F3 08JAN07 08JAN07 08JAN07 22DEC98 01JUN97
F4 01JUN05 01JUN05 01JAN05 22JUN98 08APR96

For reference purposes, below is the chart for family-sponsored final action dates from the Visa Bulletin for November 2018:

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 22JUN11 22JUN11 22JUN11 01AUG97 01FEB07
F2A 15SEP16 15SEP16 15SEP16 01SEP16 15SEP16
F2B 01JAN12 01JAN12 01JAN12 08JUN97 01JUN07
F3 08JUL06 08JUL06 08JUL06 22DEC95 22JUN95
F4 22MAR05 22MAR05 01JUN04 08FEB98 15JUN95

Employment-Based Cases in the Visa Bulletin for November 2018Again, it is important to reiterate that family-sponsored adjustment applicants must refer to the filing dates in November 2018.

For the second straight month to start fiscal year 2019, the USCIS determined that the beneficiaries of approved employment-based visa petitions in the preference categories who are applying for adjustment of status must rely on the filing dates from the November Visa Bulletin. This is welcome news for the employment-based preferences early in fiscal year 2019 after employment-based adjustment applicants were required to refer to the final action dates for all of fiscal year 2018.

For the beneficiary of an approved employment-based preference petition to be eligible for adjustment of status in November 2018, his or her priority date must be earlier than the applicable filing date cutoff for his or her employment-based preference category and chargeability area on the Bulletin. If labor certification was required for the employment-based petition, the priority date will generally be the date on which the labor certification application was accepted for processing by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In cases where labor certification was not required, the priority date will generally be the date on which the immigrant visa petition was properly filed with the USCIS on the beneficiary's behalf. Finally, the applicant must be otherwise eligible for adjustment of status under the relevant laws.

Below are the employment filing dates from the Visa Bulletin for November 2018:

Employment-Based All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born El SALVADOR GUATEMALA HONDURAS INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st 01JUN18 01OCT17 01JUN18 01OCT17 01JUN18 01JUN18
2nd C 15JUN15 C 22MAY09 C C
3rd C 08AUG15 C 01OCT09 C 01JUL17
Other Workers C 01JUN08 C 01OCT09 C 01JUL17
4th C C 01MAY16 C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C 01MAY16 C C C
5th Non-Regional Center (C5 and T5) C 01OCT14 C C C C
5th Regional Center (I5 and R5) C 01OCT14 C C C C

For reference, below is the chart for family-sponsored final action dates from the Visa Bulletin for November 2018:

Employment-based All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born EL SALVADOR GUATEMALA HONDURAS INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES VIETNAM
1st 01APR17 01JUN16 01APR17 01JUN16 01APR17 01APR17 01APR17
2nd C 15MAY15 C 26MAR09 C C C
3rd C 01JUN15 C 01JAN09 C 08JUN17 C
Other Workers C 01MAY07 C 01JAN09 C 08JUN17 C
4th C C 15FEB16 C 22NOV16 C C
Certain Religious Workers C C 15FEB16 C 22NOV16 C C
5th Non-Regional Center (C5 and T5) C 15AUG14 C C C C 01FEB16
5th Regional Center (I5 and R5) C 15AUG14 C C C C 01FEB16

Again, it is important to remember that employment-based adjustment applicants must refer to the filing dates in November 2018.

News and Notes from the October and November Visa Bulletins

The Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR) and Employment Fifth Preference Pilot (I5 and R5) categories had been slated to expire in September. However, President Donald Trump signed a spending bill which extended these important immigrant visa categories until December 7, 2018. This means that the categories will be in full effect throughout November. Regarding December, it is possible that a delay in passing a new spending bill will result in these categories lapsing for a short period, which previously occurred as recently as April 2017 [see blog]. However, in such an event, it is likely that the expiration of the programs would be short lived, and it is possible that they will be renewed before they are allowed to elapse, which is what occurred in September. We will update the site with information on the issue as it becomes available.

Conclusion

It is important for those seeking immigrant visas to stay abreast of developments in the visa bulletins. This is especially important for those who intend to apply for adjustment of status, although the bulletins may give those seeking their visas through consular processing a general idea of when their interviews may occur. Immigrant visa petitioners and applicants are well advised to consult with an experienced immigration attorney for case-specific guidance throughout the process.

To learn more about the general subjects discussed in this article, please see our website's growing sections on adjustment of status [see category], consular processing [see category], family immigration [see category], and employment immigration [see category].

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November 2018 Visa Bulletin and Adjustment of Status Filing Charts