September Visa Bulletin Summary

Overall dates are moving forward, but there are some noticeable categories that are lagging behind and not progressing as much, this includes Employment Based Third Preference which doesn’t move forward at all this month. Below is a summary of movement in most categories

Family Based Categories

F1: Moved forward one months to September 15, 2014 for most of the World EXCEPT  Mexico (moved forward about 2 weeks to January 8, 1998) and the Philippines (moved forward 3.5 months to December 15, 2011).

F2A: Remained Current for the World.

F2B: Moved forward one month to July 8, 2015 for most of the World EXCEPT  Mexico (moved forward about two weeks to April 8, 1999) and the Philippines (moved forward 4 months to August 1, 2011).

F3: Moved forward about two weeks to June 15, 2008  for most of the World EXCEPT  Mexico (moved forward two weeks to August 1, 1996) and the Philippines (moved forward 3 months to February 15, 2002).

F4: Moved forward about three weeks to September 22, 2006 for most of the World EXCEPT  India (moved forward about 2 weeks to March 8, 2005), Mexico (moved forward about 1 week to June 22, 1998) and the Philippines (moved forward 4 months to January 1, 2002.

Employment-Based Preference Categories

EB-1:  Remains CURRENT for most of the world EXCEPT China and India (moved forward about 1 month to  March 1, 2018). Currently India and China are at the same date as they are using the otherwise unused visa numbers from the EB-1 category, as other countries are well below normal usage, as well as visa number falling up from the EB-5 category (i.e. unused visa number from EB-5 fall up to the EB-1 category).

EB-2:  Stayed Current for most of the world EXCEPT China (stayed at January 15, 2016) and India (stayed at July 8, 2009). As EB-2 visa numbers are being used and it appears that all visas in this category will be used by the end of the fiscal year, no movement forward was made.

EB-3: Stayed backlogged to April 1, 2019 for most of the world EXCEPT China (stayed at February 15, 2017) and India (stayed at October 1, 2009).

Please contact us with any questions or concerns.  And please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

DOS to begin Reopening Consulates

ea34b40d2ef21c3e81584c04e4444f96fe76e7d610b9114291f6c1_1921.jpgThe Department of State announced yesterday that it would begin a phased reopening of Consulates across the world.  Please note, they will NOT be reopening all consulates at once, and cannot give specific dates as to when certain consulates will open or not.  Each Consulate will announce their plans and re-opening dates on their individual websites.  Please see below for the full press release:

 

Phased Resumption of Routine Visa Services

Last Updated: July 14, 2020

Phased Resumption of Routine Visa Services

The Department of State suspended routine visa services worldwide in March 2020 due to the COVID- 19 pandemic. As global conditions evolve, U.S. Embassies and Consulates are beginning a phased resumption of routine visa services.

The resumption of routine visa services will occur on a post-by-post basis, in coordination with the Department’s Diplomacy Strong framework for safely returning our workforce to Department facilities. U.S. Embassies and Consulates have continued to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services since March and will continue to do so as they are able. As post-specific conditions improve, our missions will begin providing additional services, culminating eventually in a complete resumption of routine visa services.

We are unable to provide a specific date for when each mission will resume specific visa services, or when each mission will return to processing at pre- Covid workload levels. See each individual U.S. Embassy or Consulate’s website for information regarding operating status and which services it is currently offering.

Unfortunately, this is about all the information the Department of State gave.  Please do note that ALL Executive orders regarding immigration that have not yet expired are still in place.  This includes the travel ban, the H-1B, J-1, visa ban as well as the immigrant visa bans as well as any Covid-19 bans.

Please call us with any questions.  And please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

May 2020 Visa Bulletin and Guidance from Mr. Oppenheim are out

UnknownThe biggest news this month is that the EB-1 category came current for Most Countries (but not all).  Additionally, the EB-2 category remained current.  Otherwise, there was movement but not much in terms of surprises.  Mr. Oppenheim did ensure us that the Visa Bulletin is being processed based upon the same infomration in the past during this difficult time.  However, as he is working remotely, he did not have access to the necessary databases when talking with AILA this month, so was unable to make precise predictions.  Details are below:

Family Based Categories

F1: Moved forward almost three months to March 22, 2014 for most of the World EXCEPT  Mexico (moved forward about 1 month October 22, 1997) and the Philippines (moved forward 6 months to September 1, 2010).

F2A: Remained Current for the World.

F2B: Moved forward two and a half months to January 15, 2015 for most of the World EXCEPT  Mexico (moved forward about one and a half months to January 15, 1999) and the Philippines (moved forward 4 months to June 1, 2010).

F3: Moved forward about one and a half months to March 15, 2008  for most of the World EXCEPT  Mexico (moved forward one month to June 8, 1996) and the Philippines (moved forward 6 months to November 15, 2000).

F4: Moved forward about three weeks to July 22, 2006 for most of the World EXCEPT  India (moved forward about 2 weeks to January 8, 2005), Mexico (moved forward about 1 month to April 15, 1998) and the Philippines (moved forward 5 months to October 1, 2000.

UPDATE FROM DOS:

Mr. Oppenheim stated that all family categories should continue to move forward consistent with his projections last month.

Employment-Based Preference Categories

EB-1:  is now CURRENT for most of the world EXCEPT China (moved forward about 1 month to  July 15, 2017) and India (moved forward about three months to August 1, 2015).

EB-2:  Stayed Current for most of the world EXCEPT China (moved forward about 1 month to September 15, 2015) and India (moved forward about one week to June 2, 2009).

EB-3:  Stayed BACKLOGGED to January 1, 2017 for most of the world EXCEPT China (moved forward one month to May 15, 2016) and India (moved forward over one month to March 1, 2009).

UPDATE FROM DOS:

No further predictions were given this month. Hopefully Mr. Oppenheim can get us this information next month.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns.  And please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

Update on USCIS, DOS, SEVP and Covid-19

This is just an update on what is and is not happening with USCIS, DOS and SEVP during the Covid-19 pandemic. First, it is important to remember that things are changing so current USCIS policy may change very soon. To keep updated with current policies, you can go to the USCIS homepage at http://www.uscis.gov.

USCIS

Field Offices:

All USCIS field offices are closed to the public. This means that no biometrics appointments or interviews are being made at this time. This is in force through at least May 3, 2020 (we do not yet know if USCIS will extend this or not).

However, USCIS has made two important concessions during this period. First, they are allowing offices to reuse old biometrics for those who have applied to renew their EAD and AP status (Employment Authorization Documents and Advanced Parole). Second, USCIS has extended the time allowed to respond to Requests for Evidence (RFEs), Notices of Intent to Deny, Notices of Intent to Revoke, as well as the time to appeal decisions (this applies to all such notices with an issuance date listed on the request, notice or decision is between March 1, 2020 and May 1, 2020, inclusive.). USCIS policy now states:

Any response to an RFE, NOID, NOIR, or NOIT received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set in the request or notice will be considered by USCIS before any action is taken. Any Form I-290B received up to 60 calendar days from the date of the decision will be considered by USCIS before it takes any action.

Service Centers:

USCIS service centers are open and adjudicating cases. Currently all service centers are open. However, it should be noted that some centers have closed temporarily in the past when a suspected case of Covid-19 has appeared in one of the employees. However, they have reopened the service centers within days.

Any applications that require biometrics appointments or interviews are on hold, however as the field offices are closed to the public (as are the biometrics centers). The only exception are EAD and AP applications for those who have had biometrics in the past. USCIS has issued a policy allowing those applications to go forward based upon the previous biometrics.

As stated above, USCIS has automatically extended the time to respond to requests for evidence, etc. for an additional 60 days after the due date.

Overseas Offices

Currently overseas offices are being closed on an as needed basis. Offices in Rome and Nairobi are currently closed, other offices are open if the Embassy itself is open. However, as most embassies are closed to the Public, so to are the USCIS offices at such embassies. They will continue to work and adjudicate cases as they can as long as in person interviews are not needed.

Department of State

Embassies

The Department of State has suspended routine immigrant and non-immigrant visa services at all Embassies and Consulates until further notice (No specific date was given). Here is a copy of their announcement:

A. Suspension of Routine Visa Services.

– In response to significant worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of State is temporarily suspending routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Embassies and consulates will cancel all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 20, 2020. As resources allow, embassies and consulates will continue to provide emergency and mission critical visa services. Our overseas missions will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time.

– In response to significant worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of State is temporarily suspending routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Embassies and consulates will cancel all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 20, 2020. As resources allow, embassies and consulates will continue to provide emergency and mission critical visa services. Our overseas missions will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time.

This does not affect the Visa Waiver Program. See https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/faq?focusedTopic=Schengen%20Travel%20Proclamation for more information.

– Although all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments are cancelled, the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) fee is valid and may be used for a visa appointment in the country where it was purchased within one year of the date of payment.

We are aware of the importance of the H-2 program to the economy and food security of the United States and intend to continue processing H-2 cases as much as possible.  For further information about the H-2 program, please visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/important-announcement-on-h2-visas.html

– Applicants with an urgent matter and need to travel immediately should follow the guidance provided at the Embassy’s website to request an emergency appointment. Examples of an urgent matter include air and sea crew, and medical personnel, particularly those working to treat or mitigate the effects of COVID-19.

J-1 Program

DOS has extended (automatically) the end date for certain J-1 non-immigrants in the United States. According to their memo DOS:

will now push a two-month extension to program end dates in SEVIS on active records with a program end date between April 1 – May 31, 2020 in order to provide exchange visitors the opportunity to complete either their educational or training programs, or continue to finalize travel plans to return home.”

Please remember this ONLY applies to programs with end dates between April 1 and May 31, 2020.

ICE AND SEVP (F-1 and M-1)

Here is a Link to SEVP policies for students at schools that have closed/moved to online coursework.

In summary, they have loosened rules in this regard to protect the status of those on F-1 and M-1 visas in the US whose schools have closed or are now just offering online classes. SEVP has stated that, under the circumstances outlines in the linked document, the status of such students will remain current and active as long as the procedures are followed. We urge you to review their guidance carefully if you are in such a situation.

As more changes are made we will update you as soon as possible.

Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

March Visa Bulletin Update – EB2 Remains current but EB3 Backlogged

UnknownThis past month’s Visa Bulletin had some bright spots and not so bright spots.  The biggest news is that the EB-2 category remained current and most likely will remain current next month as well.  Additionally, the EB-3 category was backlogged worldwide – and will most likely remain that way for the rest of the fiscal year (and, hopefully come back to current in October of this year).  Details are below:

Family Based Categories

F1: Moved forward almost a month and a half to October 8, 2013 for most of the World EXCEPT  Mexico (moved forward about 3 weeks to September 15, 1997) and the Philippines (moved forward 5 months to September 1, 2009).

F2A: Remained Current for the World.

F2B: Moved forward just over three weeks to September 15, 2014 for most of the World EXCEPT  Mexico (moved forward about 1 month to October 15, 1998) and the Philippines (moved forward 5 months to October 1, 2009).

F3: Moved forward about 3 week to December 15, 2007 for most of the World EXCEPT  Mexico (moved forward about 2 weeks to April 8, 1996) and the Philippines (moved forward 5 months to October 1, 1999).

F4: Stayed at July 1, 2006 for most of the World EXCEPT  India (moved forward about 2 weeks to December 8, 2004), Mexico (moved forward about 1 month to February 15, 1998) and the Philippines (moved forward 5 months to December 1, 1999).

UPDATE FROM DOS:

F2A demand has evened out and a cutoff is no longer certain – this category may just continue to remain current.

F4 While the Philippines has seen rapid forward movement in this category (as well as all others) Charlie believes it will not last and more demand will materialize requiring a halt to progress and perhaps a retrogression as well (in ALL categories for the Philippines).

Employment-Based Preference Categories

EB-1:  Moved forward about 3 months to March 1, 2019 for most of the world EXCEPT China (moved forward about 1 week to  June 1, 2017) and India (moved forward about 2 months to March 1, 2015).

EB-2:  Stayed Current for most of the world EXCEPT China (moved forward about 1 month to August 15, 2015) and India (moved forward 3 days to May 22, 2009).

EB-3:  BACKLOGGED to January 1, 2017 for most of the world EXCEPT China (moved forward almost 2 months to March 22, 2016), India (moved forward 1 week to January 15, 2009) and the Philippines (is now at worldwide levels).

UPDATE FROM DOS:

EB-1:  Based on currently available information, it remains possible–yet too early to confirm–that this category could become current in the summer of 2020.  According to Charlie as long as usage remains steady in March, there will be a sizable jump in April.

EB-2:  Charlie notes that demand for EB-2 Worldwide numbers continues to trend in such a way that a final action date may be imposed at some point during the second half of FY2020.  Charlie believes that this will be necessary by June of 2020, if not earlier.

EB-3:  This category has now retrogressed for worldwide numbers – there is not much chance that it will move forward much until the new fiscal year in October of 2020.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns.  And please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

February Visa Bulletin and Update from DOS

UnknownOnce again the EB-2 category has remained current despite the projections that there could be a backlog (although, as you will see below, we are not yet out of the woods on the EB-2 retrogression as of yet).  Below are the movements in most Family and Employment categories as well as an update from Charlie Oppenheim of the Department of State on probable movement in the near future.

Family Based Categories

F1: Moved forward a little over a month to August 22, 2013 for most of the World EXCEPT  Mexico (moved forward about 2 weeks to August 22, 1997) and the Philippines (moved forward 2.5 months to April 1, 2009).

F2A: Remained Current for the World

F2B: Moved forward almost two weeks to August 22, 2014 for most of the World EXCEPT  Mexico (moved forward about 3 weeks to September 15, 1998) and the Philippines (moved forward 3 months to May 1, 2009).

F3: Moved forward about 1 week to November 22, 2007 for most of the World EXCEPT  Mexico (moved forward about 3 weeks to March 22, 1996) and the Philippines (moved forward 4 months to May 1, 1999).

F4: Moved BACKWARD about 8 months to July 1, 2006 for most of the World EXCEPT  India (moved forward about 2 weeks to November 22, 2004), Mexico (moved forward about 1 weeks to January 15, 1998) and the Philippines (moved forward 4 months to July 1, 1999).

UPDATE FROM DOS:

F2A will see a backlog in the coming months.  Charlie is not quite sure when, but it will occur.

F4 retrogressed due to a dramatic increase in demand for this category.  Expect this new date to be held for the next several months.

Employment-Based Preference Categories

EB-1:  Moved forward about 1 month to December 1, 2018 for most of the world EXCEPT China (held at May 22, 2017) and India (stayed at January 1, 2015).

EB-2:  Stayed Current for most of the world EXCEPT China (moved forward about 1 week to July 15, 2015) and India (moved forward 1 day to May 19, 2009).

EB-3:  Stayed Current for most of the world EXCEPT China (moved forward 1 month to January 1, 2016), India (moved forward 1 week to January 8, 2009) and the Philippines (moved forward about 2.5 months to June 1, 2018).

UPDATE FROM DOS:

EB-1: In February, the final action date for EB-1 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico, Philippines, and Vietnam) advances two months to December 1, 2018. Based on currently available information, it remains possible–yet too early to confirm–that this category could become current in the summer of 2020.

EB-2:  Charlie notes that demand for EB-2 Worldwide numbers continues to trend in such a way that a final action date may be imposed at some point during the second half of FY2020.

EB-3:  Charlie notes that EB-3 Worldwide and EB-3 Other Workers Worldwide will become subject to a final action date in March 2020. Charlie will determine what that date will be upon receipt of data from USCIS in February 2020.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns.  And please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

Immigrant Visa Backlogs and Congress: Can They Fix the Problem?

UnknownNot everyone realizes but there are huge backlogs of cases for employment based immigrant visas.  For about 1 year now the EB-1 category (Extra-ordinary Ability, Outstanding Professor and Researchers and Intra-Company Transferees) category has been backlogged about 1 year for most of the world and several years for China and about 4-5 years for India.  The EB-2 category, while current for most of the world, has been backlogged about 4 years for China and about 10 years for India.  The same is true of the EB-3 category.  For those from India and China especially, the requirement of having to wait 10 years or more for a green card is hard on the family.  It can cause children, who may be 2 or 3 when they arrive in the US, to age out before a green card can be obtained – forcing these now grown Children to either go home or get their own visas and begin their own processes.  Furthermore, the employees are working for years without hope of major pay increases or promotions, for fear of being fired (if they ask and are denied) and loosing their place in line.

Congress has been looking at ways of fixing this.  The most popular bill currently, that almost passed the Senate, would alleviate the issue by removing the per country limitations currently in place for employment based immigrant visas.  Currently, all employment based immigrant visas are divided among all countries in the world evenly. While the Department of State can reallocate some visas based upon usage patterns, no country can get more than 7% of the immigrant visas in any given category.  That means, for example, for EB-1 visas India can only get about 3,000 visas per year (and that includes visas for all dependents of the primary applicant (spouses and children).  The bill in congress would remove those limitation in steps and would put in place protections so those from other countries who already applied in the employment categories when the bill was filed, would not loose their place in line.  However, the effect of this bill would hit people from EVERY country.

Within 4-9 years all countries would be facing major backlogs in all categories.  While the current backlog would be cleaned out by then, there would still be significant delays for everyone.   Another bill, in addition to removing the per country limitations would also remove dependents from the visa count.  This means a family of 6 or a family of 4 would be counted as just one immigrant visa against the quota.  This would greatly help to reduce the backlog and would go a long way towards ameliorating the issues caused by just removing the per country cap.  This bill, however, would also raise the number of employment based immigrant visas, a portion of the bill that is unlikely to pass this Congress or, even if it were, to be signed by this President.  There are currently other Senators working at removing the increase in immigrant visas from the bill to try to make it more passable.

Overall, while all these bills try to tackle this issue, the problems with our current immigration system are fairly widespread.  Our immigration laws were written over 30 years ago now in many cases, and longer in some.   Many things have changed since then and a major overhaul is certainly in order.  However, because of the current polarization of our political system, it is doubtful that any such major reform could be passed anytime soon.  Therefore, smaller fixes are all we can hope for in the near term.  Hopefully congress can get together and put together a bill that will help everyone and help prevent the current backlogs we have.

Those interested in this issue can read a good article in The Washington Post here.

Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

January Visa Bulletin – Good Surprises

UnknownThe Department of State released the January Bulletin as well as an update from Charlie Oppenheim as to usage patterns and what to expect in the future.  The biggest surprise was that there was NO backlog for the EB-2 or EB-3 category as predicted.  In fact, usage patterns slowed so much that Mr. Oppenheim now thinks that the category should remain current for a couple additional months as well.  We will keep our on on the category however, and update you with any changes.  Below are the other date changes for the bulletin along with the predictions from Charlie Oppenheim:

Family Based Categories

F1:  Moved forward 2 months to July 15, 2013 for everywhere EXCEPT Mexico (stayed at August 8, 1997) and the Philippines (moved forward 2.5 months to January 15, 2009). Prediction: This category should move forward about 6 weeks over the next month or two.

F2A: Remained current across the board.  A final action date will be established in the coming months.

F2B: Most of the world remained at August 8, 2014 EXCEPT Mexico which remained at August 22, 1998 and the Philippines with is the the only Country that moved forward (2 months) to February 1, 2009.  Prediction: This category will move forward about 3 weeks over the next month or two.

F3: Moved forward 1 week to November 15, 2007 EXCEPT for Mexico (forward 1 week to March 1, 1996 and the Philippines (moved forward 4 months to January 1, 1999). Prediction: This category will move forward about 1-3 weeks over the next month or two.

F4: No movement for most of the world (staying at February 1, 2007) EXCEPT India (forward 1 week to November 8, 2004), Mexico (forward 3 weeks to January 8, 1998 and the Philippines (moved forward 2.5 months to March 1, 1999). Prediction:  This category has moved forward rapidly to stimulate demand.  Unfortunately this demand has materialized quite a bit and there will be retrogression with no forward movement after that.

Employment Based

EB1: Moved forward 2.5 months to October 1, 2018 EXCEPT China (moved forward 1 week to May 22, 2017) and India (no movement – stayed at January 1, 2015).  Prediction: Will come current in the next couple of months

EB2: Stayed Current for most of the world EXCEPT China (moved forward 1 week to July 1, 2015) and India (moved forward a couple days to May 18, 2009).  Prediction:  Will backlog in the second half of the year.

EB3:  Stayed Current for most of the world EXCEPT China (moved forward 1 month to December 1, 2015) and India (stayed at January 1, 2009). Prediction:  Will backlog in the next month of two.

Please do contact us with any questions.  Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

Potential EB-2 Backlog starting as early as January 2020

box-turtle-wildlife-animal-reptile-159758_1.jpegFor those who may have missed this in my last blog post (See here), there is a potential that the EB-2 category, which includes the National Interest Waiver may no longer be current for ANY country come January 2020.  What does this mean?

In order to file the I-485 application, there must be an immigrant visa number available in the category in which you are filing.  The Department of State puts out what is called the Visa Bulletin every month.  This Bulletin lists each category for a green card (each category that has a limited number of visas, that is) and lists a date for each category.  That date signifies that cases filed BEFORE that date are now eligible to receive an immigrant visa number.  If, instead of a date, there is a C, that denotes that the category is current, and all applications are eligible for visa numbers.  To explain with an example, let us say the date for EB-2 (which includes the NIW) is 2/1/2019 – this would mean that those cases in which the I-140 (NIW) application was filed PRIOR to 2/1/2019 could now file the I-485 application.  If the date were C it would mean that even someone filing their I-140 today would be able to file the I-485 with that I-140.

In addition to the above, the date listed in the visa bulletin also must be current for a given case in order for the I-485 to be approved.  Again, using the example above, let us say we filed the I-140 on 1/1/2019 with the I-485, and our interview is scheduled for 1/15/2020.  On 12/15/2019 a new visa bulletin comes out that says the new date for EB-2 is 12/30/2018.  Our case is no longer current, therefore even though we have an interview scheduled, the I-485 cannot be approved (to be fully clear, it is possible that USCIS requested the visa number PRIOR to the backlog, so it could still be approved because a visa number was allocated, but lets assume that did not happen).

In general, China and India have had backlogs in the EB-2 category for many years now.  The catch-all listing for all other countries is generally current (listed as a C).  However, in most fiscal years, towards the end of the year (the year ends on September 30, so around July or August) the catch-all listing will backlog as USCIS has used all the immigrant visas in that category.  However, at the beginning of the next fiscal year (October 1) it will come current again.  If, in fact, the EB-2 category does backlog for the catch-all listing, then this could mean that it will remain backlogged for the foreseeable future.  This just happened for the EB-1 category less than 1 year ago – it became backlogged early in the fiscal year and has remained backlogged about 1 to 1.5 years for the catch-all listing since that time.

However, it is important to realize we do not know yet if it will backlog in January, or February or later.  Much will depend on the usage statistics for November (and December).  We will know more around December 15, when the January visa bulletin is released.  We will update you then.

If you are thinking of filing the I-140 and I-485 simultaneously, then you would need to immediately begin getting all documents together as you may no longer be able to do that come January 1, 2020.  Call us with any questions.

Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

November Visa Bulletin and an Update From Charlie Oppenheim

UnknownBefore discussing the visa bulletin for November, I just wish to apologize for the absence of posts in the last couple of months.  In the future I shall make sure that there are no more long pauses such as the one that occurred and will ensure that I am able to get out relevant information to all my readers in a timely manner.  Thank you.

The November Bulletin had some movement (mostly) in both Family and Employment Categories.  Let’s take a look at employment categories first.  Please do note that were dates are given for “All Other Countries” this includes not just that general category, but all other individually listed countries that are at the same dates (such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – which are listed out separately but track with All Other Countries in most instances).

Employment Based Cases

EB-1: This category moved from April 22, 2018 to June 1, 2018 for All Other Countries.  For China, it moved forward from November 1, 2016 to February 1, 2017 (quite a jump) and for India there was no movement as it stayed at January 1, 2015.  According to USCIS Dates for Filing may be used for this category – this means that those in the US may file their I-485 if the priority date of the I-140 is before July 1, 2019 for All Other Countries, September 1, 2017 for China and March 15, 2017 for India.

EB-2: This category remained Current for All Other Countries.  China moved forward from January 1, 2015 to March 15, 2015.  India went from May 12, 2009 to May 13, 2009. According to USCIS Dates for Filing may be used for this category – this means that those in the US may file their I-485 if the priority date of the I-140 is before August 1, 2016 for China and July 1, 2009 for India.

EB-3: This category remained current for All Other Countries.  China and India both had no movement – China staying at November 1, 2015 and India staying at January 1, 2009. According to USCIS Dates for Filing may be used for this category – this means that those in the US may file their I-485 if the priority date of the I-140 is before  March 1, 2017 for China and February 1, 2010 for India.

Family Based Cases

FB-1: This category moved forward from January 15, 2013 to March 1, 2013 for All Other Areas.  Mexico stayed at August 8, 1997 and the Philippines moved froward from July 1, 2008 to September 15, 2008. 

FB-2A: This category remained Current for ALL Countries.

FB-2B: This category moved forward from June 1, 2014 to July 8, 2014 for All Other Countries.  Mexico moved forward from August 1, 1998 to August 22, 1998.  The Philippines moved forward from September 1, 2008 to October 1, 2008.

FB-3: This category moved forward from September 15, 2007 to October 15, 2007 for All Other Countries.  Mexico had no movement, staying at February 22, 1996 and the Philippines moved forward from April 1, 1998 to June 1, 1998.

FB-4: This category moved forward from November 22, 2006 to January 1, 2007 for All Other Countries.  India moved forward slightly from October 1, 2004 to October 15, 2004 while Mexico had no movement, staying at December 15, 1997.  The Philippines moved forward from July 8, 1998 to September 1, 1998.

According to USCIS Dates for Filing should be used for all categories EXCEPT for FB-2A (which is current under Final Action Dates, but actually has a cut-off for Dates for Filing).  The Dates for Filing are generally a couple months ahead of the dates listed above (which are the Final Action Dates).  Please contact us if you have any questions in this regard.

UPDATE FROM CHARLIE OPPENHEIM

Family Based Cases

For family based cases, the F2A Final Action Date, which became current in July 2019, remains current across all countries for November. This trend has been surprising because Charlie expected that there would be a surge in demand which would have required imposition of a Final Action Date no later than January. The demand for F2A across countries remains extremely low, with applicants not responding to the agent of choice letters, and at this time there is no indication that a date will need to be imposed in the near future.

Employment Based Cases

EB-1:  You should expect to see the EB-1 categories advance at up to three months for Worldwide  and China, and little if any forward movement for India.  India will not advance for some time since there is already significant number use and pending demand in that category (17% usage already for Q1).    Overall usage in this category (For Worldwide numbers), however, shows lower demand than previous years.  If this low demand trend continues, then EB-1 (for All Countries other than India and China) could return to Current at some point later in the year.

EB-2:  EB-2 Worldwide remains current for November and is expected to remain current for the foreseeable future.   Charlie is starting to see an increase in upgrades from EB-3 India to EB-2 India, with the numbers requested so far in October most likely being attributable to upgrade requests.

Given that the Final Action Date for EB-3 China (November 1, 2015) is eight months ahead of EB-2 China, it is likely to prompt downgrades which could take the pressure off of EB-2 China demand, causing that category to advance.

EB-3:  The EB-3 category bears watching as we continue to move into Q2 of the fiscal year and beyond. Charlie is very surprised at the high level of numbers used in this category this fiscal year as well as pending demand for this category, noting that it is significantly higher than it has been in the past to the tune of thousands. Nevertheless, Charlie still expects EB-3 Worldwide to remain current through at least January.  EB-3 China is receiving a high level of downgrade requests, with 300 requests in October alone.  If this trend continues it will limit the advancement of EB-3 China while potentially increasing the rate of advancement for EB-2 China.  Expect little to no movement for EB-3 India.

 

Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.