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. 

EB1 for China and India Backlogging in June, 2017

Unknown.jpegThe June, 2017 Visa Bulletin was released and the biggest change is that both India and China are now backlogged in EB-1 category.  Below are all the changes and further information about this new backlog.  We are also including updates from Charlie Oppenheim from the Department of State on projected future movements for the various immigrant visa categories.

Employment Based Immigrant Visas

EB1:  India and China Backlogged to January 1, 2012.  All other countries Current.  The reason for this backlog are several fold.  First, India and China have already used up about one half of ALL immigrant visas for the EB1 category already.  Second, there has been high usage in EB-4 and EB-5 categories.  Normally, all left over visas from EB-4 and EB-5 will roll over to the EB-1 category (and down to EB-2 if applicable.  However, because of the high usage in those categories, there are no visas to roll over.  Lastly, there has been significantly high demand in the EB-2 category for India and China, which prompts more people from those countries to file EB-1 applications if they can.  At this point, Charlie is very hopeful that India and China will go Current in this category again come October 1, 2017, the beginning of the new fiscal year.

EB2:  China moved forward about a month to March 1, 2013 and India moved forward a little more than 1 week to July 1, 2008.  All other countries are Current.  Right now India and China are both limited to their per country allocation in this category (approximately 2, 810 immigrant visas).  Both are expected to use up their allocations by the end of the fiscal year.  Additionally, worldwide EB2 will backlog by July or August (at the latest) but note, it will go current again come October 1, 2017.

EB3: China held steady at October 1, 2014, India moved forward about 2 months to May 15, 2005 and the Philippines moved forward about four months to May 1, 2013.  All other countries moved forward 1 month to April 15, 2017.  For China, Charlie is keeping it steady on October 1, 2014 for as long as possible.  China may backlog at some point, but Charlie is not certain.  Worldwide demand in this area is fairly steady so it should keep up as it has all year.  India is expected to move forward steadily in this category as long as Worldwide demand, and especially Mexico demand remains as low as it has been.

Family Immigrant Visas

Not much to say here, most categories moved forward about 1 week to 1 month, no more than that.  The only indications that Charlie gave were that F4 (Brothers and Sisters of Citizens) may move forward more significantly this fiscal year.  If you are waiting for that category keep an eye on it in the coming months.

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.

April Visa Bulletin and Guidance from Charlie Oppenheim

imagesThe April Visa Bulletin was released last week as was some additional guidance from Charlie Oppenheim of the Department of State.  I will go through the highlights below.

Family Based Immigration

F1 (Unmarried Sons and Daughters of US Citizens):  Most countries moved from June 1, 2010 to October 15, 2010, a fairly big jump.  The exceptions were Mexico (which moved about 1 week to May 22, 1995) and the Philippines (which moved forward one month to January 15, 2006)

F2A (Spouses and children of Permanent Residents): Most countries moved forward 1 month to June 8, 2015.  The only exception was Mexico, which also moved one month forward to May 22, 2015.

F2B (Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents): Most countries moved forward 1 month to September 15, 2010.  The only exceptions were Mexico (which moved forward 1 month to December 22, 1995) and the Philippines (which moved forward 1.5 months to June 15, 20016).

F3 (Married Sons and Daughters of US Citizens): Most countries moved forward about 3 weeks to May 15, 2005.  The only exceptions were Mexico (which moved forward about 2 weeks to January 8, 1995) and the Philippines (which moved forward about 1 week to September 15, 1994.

F4 (Siblings of US Citizens): Most countries moved forward about 2.5 months to May 8, 2004.  India moved forward only about 3 weeks to August 15, 2003.  Mexico moved forward about 2 weeks to June 15, 1997.  The Philippines moved forward about 1 month to September 8, 1993.

Charlie Oppenheim Guidance:  FB-1, FB-2 and FB-3 are expected to continue to advance at the same pace as this month in the future  because of the low rate at which applicants are becoming documentarily qualified. The FB-4 advancement in April was sufficient to meet Charlie’s target for this category for the next two to three months. This allowed the overall desired allocation level through April to be met, and should prevent excessive allocations once demand in the other categories increases those desired levels. No further advancement of FB-4 Worldwide is expected until July.

Employment Based Immigration

EB1: Current for all countries (but see guidance below for India and China)

EB2: Current for most countries.  China moved forward about 1 month to January 15, 2013 and India moved forward about 3 weeks to June 22, 2008.

Eb3: Worldwide numbers moved forward about two months to February 15, 2017. China moved forward about 5 months to August 15, 2014.  India moved forward 2 days to March 22, 2005 and the Philippines moved forward about 1 month to September 15, 2012.

Charlie Oppenheim Guidance:  

EB-1:  India has already used over 9,000 immigration visas in this category (its per country limit is 2,800) and China has used over 4,500.  There will be backlogs for both of these countries in this category in the near future.

EB-3: At some point Charlie expects there to be more demand for China EB-3 because of the downgrades from EB-2s.  However, to date, this demand has not materialized.  This is why he moved the final action date forward.  You may notice that the Date for Filing for EB-2 China is actually several months behind the Final Action Dates.  As USCIS is using the Final Action Dates, this date is irrelevant.  EB-3 Worldwide will continue to remain about 2 months behind being current.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

August Visa Bulletin: EB-1 backlogs for India and China, EB-2 Backlogged for Everyone

UnknownThe August 2016 visa bulletin was released by the Department of State yesterday.   It features backlogs for ALL countries in the EB-2 category and other changed.  However, readers should understand, that while certain countries (India and China) have regular backlogs in the EB-2 category, those for other countries in the EB-2 category and those in the EB-1 category are  temporary.  I will discuss this more in depth below as we  look at the specifics of the Visa Bulletin:

Family Based Applications

F2A (spouses and children of permanent residents):  No movement

F4 (siblings of US citizens): No movement

F1 (unmarried sons and daughters of US Citizens):  The priority date for most countries moved forward about 2 months to May 22, 2009.  The exceptions are Mexico (no change) and the Philippines (moved forward 1 month to March 22, 2005)

F2B (unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents):Not much movement.  Most countries moved forward about 1 month to January 8, 2010.  The exceptions are Mexico (no movement) and the Philippines (moved forward 2 months to Sep. 15, 2005)

F3 (married sons and daughters of US Citizens):  Almost no movement, except the Philippines moved forward about 2 weeks to March 15, 1994

Work Based Applications

EB1:  As discussed in previous blog posts, there was always a change of a backlog, and it has occurred.  India and China are backlogged to January 1, 2010.  This will be a TEMPORARY backlog, however.  These dates will become current again on October 1, 2016. The beginning of the new fiscal year.  Every other country remains current.

EB2:  Worldwide is backlogged to February 1, 2014.  Again, this is temporary and will become current again on October 1, 2016 the beginning of the new fiscal year.  China remained unchanged at January 1, 2010 and India moved forward very slightly to November 15, 2004

EB3: Worldwide numbers moved forward about 2 weeks to March 15, 2016.  China, again, remained unchanged at Jan. 1, 2010 and India, again, moved forward slightly to November 8. 2004.  The Philippines also moved forward in this category about two months to May 15, 2009.

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.