September 2018 Visa Bulletin Update

Every month, the Department of State issues a Visa Bulletin update that helps guide individuals and practitioners on when to file their adjustment of status applications.

Adjusting your status to become a U.S. permanent resident is a long and complicated process. In addition to requiring multiple petitions, with mountain worth of supporting evidence, there are many other intricacies that effect the proper and timely filing of your petition. Whether you are filing for adjustment of status under family-sponsored or employment-based immigrant visa, the timeline for filing your I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) varies greatly depending on individual circumstances of each applicant. By law, there is an annual limit for total number of legal immigrant visa. This is a set number of immigrant visas available to aplicants in one fiscal year (October 1st – September 30). This number is further broken down into three main categories: family- sponsored, employment-based, and diversity visa. Each category is assigned annual limit of immigrant visas with some flexibility allowed within its own subcategories. This complex allotment process is further restricted by “per country caps” that limit the number of immigrant visa to 7% of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits per country.

Because of these numerical limits and restrictions, it is important that the immigrant visa is available at the time of filing of your I-485 but also at the time of adjudication of your I-485. From time-time it happens that the visa category or foreign state in which demand was excessive is deemed oversubscribed. The final action date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits. It becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a final action date. This is most likely to happen towards the end of fiscal year. This year has seen a spike in employment-based immigrant visa demand that resuledt in final action cutoff date being issued for some of the employment-based categories.

According to Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division for the U.S. Department of State (DOS), despite a one-month advancement in September and previously expressed hopes that EB-1 Worldwide would return to current on October 1, 2018 (as it has in past years), heavy demand will preclude the category from returning to current in October. Charlie further believes that EB-1 China and EB-1 India will continue to have final action dates in October which are earlier than those established for Worldwide. It is unlikely that any of the EB-1 categories will have much forward movement before December or possibly into Q2 of FY 2019.

EB-2 Worldwide as well as EB-3 and Other Workers will return to current in October and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

For more information about the September Visa Bulletin, please see the attached DOS Visa Bulletin or visit the “Visa Bulletin” link under “Important Sites” in the right-hand sidebar.

September 2018 Visa Bulletin

In an unstable immigration climate, you do not want to risk loosing your money, time and wasted efforts. If you are considering applying for your legal permanent residency, please contact my office.

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