Moments ago, S386 was voted down in the Senate. S386 is the Senate version of the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019. This bill aimed to eliminate the per-country limits associated with the employment-based categories. Given this development, for the bill to advance it would have to seek cloture which would take at least 60 votes in the Senate. No such vote has been scheduled at this time.

Note that EllisPorter does not take a position on this bill one way or the other.

October Visa Bulletin Is Out

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The October Visa Bulletin was released today. Because October is the first month of the 2020 fiscal year, essentially resetting the number of available green cards for the year, the changes this month are relatively substantial and mostly positive.


EB-1 remains oversubscribed for individuals from all countries, meaning it will not be possible to immediately adjust status by filing an I-485, receive a final decision on a pending I-485, or receive an immigrant visa unless your priority date is current.

Dates for Filing:

For October 2019, only individuals with EB-1 priority dates before the following dates are eligible to file an I-485 or begin immigrant visa processing:

  • EB-1 India: March 15, 2017

  • EB-1 China: September 1, 2017

  • EB-1 Rest of World: July 1, 2019

Final Action Dates:

For October 2019, only individuals with EB-1 priority dates before the following dates are eligible to receive a final decision on a pending I-485 or receive an immigrant visa:

  • EB-1 India: January 1, 2015

  • EB-1 China: November 1, 2016

  • EB-1 Rest of World: April 22, 2018



EB-2, on the other hand, is now only oversubscribed for individuals from India and China.

Dates for Filing:

For October 2019, only individuals born in India or China with EB-2 priority dates before the following dates are eligible to file an I-485 or begin immigrant visa processing:

  • EB-2 India: July 1, 2009

  • EB-2 China: August 1, 2016

Final Action Dates:

For October 2019, only individuals with EB-2 priority dates before the following dates are eligible to receive a final decision on a pending I-485 or receive an immigrant visa:

  • EB-2 India: May 1, 2009

  • EB-1 China: January 1, 2015

If you were born in any country other than India or China, you will be eligible (beginning October 1) to immediately adjust status by filing an I-485, receive a final decision on a pending I-485, or receive an immigrant visa.


Conclusion and Predictions

Keep in mind that the Visa Bulletin does not affect I-140s at all. You will continue to be able to file your I-140 petitions without interruption, and USCIS will continue to adjudicate I-140s normally. It also does not impact applications for Employment Authorization or Advanced Parole for individuals with a pending I-485.

Since the 2020 fiscal year is just beginning, the U.S. Department of State currently anticipates positive movement for most categories in the next few months. The most recent predictions are as follows:

  • EB-1 India: “Little if any forward movement.” Unfortunately, the backlogs for Indians appear set to become even longer in the coming months.

  • EB-1 China: “Up to three months” of movement each month through January

  • EB-1 Rest of World: “Up to three months” of movement each month through January


  • EB-2 India: “Up to one week” of movement each month through January

  • EB-2 China: “Up to two months” of movement each month through January

  • EB-2 Rest of World: Expected to remain current (immediately available) through January

These are only predictions and are always subject to change, but they represent the best information we currently have available. While we expect the next few months to be relatively steady in terms of green card availability, we will update all of our clients if we hear of more substantial changes coming.

Analysis of New Public Charge Rule

The Department of Homeland Security recently announced they are issuing a final rule regarding foreign nationals who may be likely to become public charges. Section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act states that a foreign national may be inadmissible if he or she is likely to become a public charge. For the past twenty years, public charge referred to “an alien who has become or who is likely to become ‘primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either (i) the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance or (ii) institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.’” However, this new rule greatly expands the ways in which a foreign national can be found inadmissible based on his or her likelihood of becoming a public charge.

Specifically, this new rule expands the public benefits that could lead to a finding of inadmissibility; the list of benefits that can lead to a finding of inadmissibility now includes cash benefits for income maintenance, some housing assistance programs,  Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), and Medicaid (with some exceptions). Anyone who receives one or more of these benefits for an aggregate of 12 months within any 36-month period would be found inadmissible to the United States.

In addition, the rule states that USCIS will consider other factors to determine whether a foreign national is likely to become a public charge in the future. Such factors can include education, age, current employment and work history, assets and savings, credit score, and debts and other financial liabilities. USCIS will also consider household income in relation to federal poverty guidelines. However, given the number of factors involved in determining whether a foreign national is likely to become a public charge in the future, it is conceivably possible that a person could have an income that exceeds federal poverty guidelines and still be found to be inadmissible.

This new rule will take effect on October 15, 2019. The rule does not apply to foreign nationals applying under humanitarian programs, including refuges, asylees, special immigrant juveniles, and victims of domestic violence protected under the Violence Against Women Act.

September Visa Bulletin Released

September Visa Bulletin:

The September Visa Bulletin was released today. The changes this month are relatively minor in terms of impact to most individuals. Both EB-1 and EB-2 will, as expected, remain oversubscribed for individuals from all countries, meaning it will not be possible to immediately adjust status by filing an I-485, receive a final decision on a pending I-485, or receive an immigrant visa. For September 2019, only individuals with priority dates (the date on which your I-140 was filed) before the following dates are eligible to file the I-485, receive a final decision on a pending I-485, or receive an immigrant visa: 


  • EB-1 India: Unavailable – USCIS will not accept or adjudicate any additional I-485s for EB-1 India in September. 

  • EB-1 China: January 1, 2014 

  • EB-1 Rest of World: October 1, 2017 


  • EB-2 India: May 8, 2019 

  • EB-2 China: January 1, 2017 

  • EB-2 Rest of World: January 1, 2018 


If you are outside the US and are applying for immigrant visa processing, only individuals with priority dates (the date on which your I-140 was filed) before the following dates are eligible to begin immigrant visa processing: 


  • EB-1 India: October 1, 2017 

  • EB-1 China: October 1, 2017 

  • EB-1 Rest of World: September 1, 2018 


  • EB-2 India: June 1, 2009 

  • EB-2 China: June 1, 2017 

  • EB-2 Rest of World: Current (anyone with an approved I-140 is eligible to begin immigrant visa processing) 


Keep in mind that the Visa Bulletin does not affect I-140s at all. You will continue to be able to file your I-140 petitions without interruption, and USCIS will continue to adjudicate I-140s normally. It also does not impact applications for Employment Authorization or Advanced Parole for individuals with a pending I-485. 


September is the last month of Fiscal Year 2019. As the year ends, the government is better able to predict remaining visa availability, which is the reason for some of these changes. October 1 will mark the beginning of Fiscal Year 2020, and we expect significant (hopefully positive) changes then. The October Visa Bulletin should be released in mid-September, and we will update you at that time. 

H4 EAD Update

The federal government has recently announced that it intends to move forward with its goal to rescind employment authorization from the spouses of H-1B holders. Since 2015, H-4 holders have been able to apply for employment authorization if their H-1B spouse has an I-140 petition that has been approved but for which the priority date is not current. However, the Department of Homeland Security has, since 2017, sought to eliminate this provision, though it has faced repeated obstacles and criticism. While the government claims that restricting H-4 employment will allow greater employment opportunities for American workers, critics maintain that prohibiting the spouses of H-1B holders from working places an unreasonable burden on the families of H-1B holders and limits employers’ ability to effectively recruit the skilled workers the H-1B visa is designed to attract.

Currently, the rule stripping H-4 holders of their right to employment authorization is under review with the Office of Management and Budget and awaiting approval from the White House Office for Information and Regulatory Affairs. Should the rule be approved, it will be published and the public will be able to comment on it before it is finalized.

Proposal to Increase H1B Fees

President Trump’s proposed budget for 2020 would, if approved, significantly raise the cost of filing an H-1B. Currently, the application fees for filing an H-1B petition include a fee of $750 or $1,500, depending on the size of the petitioning employer. The president’s proposed budget doubles these fees: companies that employ 25 or fewer American workers would pay $1,500 per application, while those that employ more than 25 American workers would pay $3,000.

The current $750/$1,500 fees contribute to job training programs and scholarships under the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act. However, the Department of Labor and the White House have provided conflicting accounts of what the money generated through the increased fees would be used. The Department of Labor’s budget request indicates that the money will be used to “prepare American workers for jobs that are currently being filled by foreign workers, especially in STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] fields.” Alexander Acosta, the Secretary of Labor, indicated that the funds would be used to support apprenticeship programs. However, the White House has indicated that fifteen percent of the money would be used to fund career and education grants at the state level.

It is important to keep in mind that this is just one proposal as part of a proposed budget and that budgets can sometimes go through revisions before being passed by congress. This is especially true considering the clashes between President Trump and the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. Regardless of whether or not the fee increase becomes reality, however, the proposal is a sign that the administration is unlikely to consider raising the number of new H-1B visas available each year.

Good News-Injunctive Relief Regarding F, J & M status Memo

On May 3 of this year, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina issued a decision in litigation pertaining to a USCIS policy memo that set forth a new policy regarding foreign nationals holding nonimmigrant vis statuses valid until “D/S,” or duration of status. This ruling has a number of important implications for people holding F, J, and M statuses, as well as those holding other nonimmigrant visa statuses.

Before discussing the implications of this ruling, however, it is first necessary to provide background information for context. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, or IIRAIRA, set forth the concept of unlawful presence; the term refers to foreign nationals who enter the United States without being admitted or paroled or who stay beyond their period of authorized stay, such as people who remain in the United States beyond the expiration of their nonimmigrant visa status. Foreign nationals who accrue more than 180 days of unlawful presence may be subject to a three-year bar from entering the United States, while those who accrue more than a year may be subject to a ten-year bar. One ambiguity in this concept is that some foreign nationals—particularly those who enter on F, J, and M statuses—are authorized to stay for the duration of their status, or “D/S,” as opposed to those who are authorized to stay until a fixed date.  

Since IIRAIRA was passed, the INS and later USCIS policies held that unlawful presence for those in D/S status began to accrue only when those foreign nationals were notified by the government that they had violated status.  However, on August 9, 2018, USCIS issued a policy memo that reversed this determination. This new policy memo indicates that those in F, J, or M status begin to accrue unlawful presence immediately upon violating their status, regardless of whether or not they have been notified of their violation. This policy went into effect without notice or public comment under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

In response to this policy change, two individuals, four universities, and the American Federation of Teachers (which also represents educators in higher education) filed a complaint in federal court that sought to inhibit and overturn the new policy. The complaint rested on two factors: that the USCIS did not comply with the APA by not permitting public comment on the proposed rule and that the policy is inconsistent with section 212(a)(9) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The government in turn filed a motion to dismiss the complaint based on the ripeness of the issue and the plaintiffs’ standing. The court, however, rejected the government’s motion and granted the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction, barring the implementation of the August 9 policy memo. In her decision, the Honorable Loretta C. Briggs held that the plaintiffs are likely to succeed in challenging the policy memo for conflicting with the INA. She also concurred with the previous understanding that unlawful presence begins only when USCIS determines that a foreign national is out of status. The court has ordered an accelerating briefing schedule for the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, set to begin on May 13 and ending on May 30.

The judge’s granting of a preliminary injunction and her seeming agreement with the logic of the plaintiffs’ arguments inspires some hope that the court will ultimately side with the plaintiffs and overturn the August 9 policy memo. However, a decision is not expected until at least June.  In the meantime, those who could be affected by the policy memo—those in F, J, or M status—might be better off not travelling internationally, as doing so could potentially trigger a bar to re-entering the U.S. depending on the court’s final ruling.


USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for H-1Bs

USCIS has announced that they will resume premium processing of H1B cap subject visas today for the 2019 cap season. Previously, USCIS has suspended premium processing last March. This is good news for many employers and beneficiaries of these applications as the additional fee is often worth the 15 calendar day turnaround on these decisions versus the many months they would otherwise have to wait for a decision.

Update on USCIS Final Action Date Usage

In September of 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) started to allow those with an approved immigrant visa petition to file I-485 applications according to the Dates for Filing Applications chart. The dates on this chart are the earliest dates that a person can file an I-485 application; USCIS stated that these dates may be used when they determine that there are enough immigrant visas available to accommodate the filing of additional I-485 applications. The benefit of filing according to the date on the Dates for Filing Applications chart is that the dates on the Dates for Filing Applications chart are often much earlier as compared to the dates on the Application Final Action Dates chart; as such, many applicants have been able to file I-765 and I-131 applications with their I-485 applications and thus receive an employment authorization document (EAD) or advance parole travel document much earlier. This was especially beneficial for our clients with approved EB-1 petitions, since the priority dates for the EB-1 category have retrogressed for all countries.

However, USCIS has more recently indicated that, given current trends and the number of visas available, they anticipate that applicants will need to file their I-485 applications in accordance with the dates on the Final Action Date chart and not the Dates for Filing Applications chart. While USCIS has not indicated precisely when this change will go into effect, it could happen as early as February 2019. People with an approved immigrant visa petition—especially an approved EB-1 petition—should continue to monitor both the Dates for Filing Applications chart and the Final Action Date chart to determine if they are eligible to file an I-485. Those who are able to file an I-485 based on the dates in the Dates for Filing Applications chart should strongly consider filing their I-485 sooner rather than later in order to take advantage of the potentially earlier date.

Potential Change to USCIS’ Advance Parole Policy

USCIS Director L Francis Cissna has recently indicated that USCIS may change its current policy on Advance Parole application abandonment. Form I-131 Application for Travel Document applications allow non-U.S. nationals without valid immigrant visas to travel internationally.

Director Cissna’s comments imply that USCIS may be discontinuing its current policy of denying pending advance parole Form I-131 applications when applicants travel abroad. It is unclear from Director Cissna’s comments when this policy change is slated to be put into effect.

The current USCIS policy indicates that if an applicant travels abroad before their travel documents are issued, the advance parole application may be considered abandoned. Previous USCIS policy mandated that valid H and L visa holders who filed adjustment of status would be exempt from their advance parole applications being considered abandoned upon foreign travel. When this policy was reversed, many H and L visa holders were forced to remain in the US for up to six months in order to obtain the requisite travel documents.

You can find more information about Advance Parole on USCIS’ website here.

Notes from USCIS's Fall 2018 Regulatory Agenda

The Department of Homeland Security has recently released its fall 2018 regulatory agenda, which includes a number of changes to current practices. H-1B visa holders are especially impacted by many of these changes.


First, the USCIS intends to propose a new rule that would create a registration requirement for anyone planning to file an H-1B cap-subject petition. While this rule would mean that employers would only need to file full petitions in the event that the beneficiary wins the annual lottery, there is a possibility that the USCIS will change the way the lottery works. Specifically, in light of President Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” executive order, it is possible that the lottery may no longer be random, with more preference being given to beneficiaries with more education or higher salaries instead. In addition, the USCIS may also limit the number of applications it is willing to accept from any one company, which would likely mean that there will be fewer H-1B visas awarded to staffing companies and companies that outsource work.


Additionally, USCIS also plans to institute a rule that would define new meanings of the terms “employment,” “specialty occupation,” and “employer-employee relationship” in August of 2019, after the H-1B cap filings.


The spouses of some H-1B holders are also likely to be impacted by the new regulatory agenda. For months, the USCIS has intended to introduce a new rule rescinding work authorization of H-4 visa holders that had been introduced during the Obama administration. It appears the USCIS is finally ready to release the notice of this new rule in November of this year, and when this happens the USCIS will answer questions about whether or not current holders of H-4 EADs will be able to renew their work authorization.


Other impacts of the new regulatory agenda include USCIS updates regarding the recruitment requirements for the H-2A and H-2B programs in October 2018, revisions to the H-2A labor certification process in December 2018, and a variety of changes to the EB-5 program including increasing investment levels and limiting the designation of Targeting Employment Areas in November 2018, incorporating process changes for EB-5 Regional Center applications in March 2019, and ramping up monitoring of the EB-5 Program in September of 2019.


Furthermore, based on information presented in the new regulatory agenda, the USCIS also plans to update its fee schedule in February 2019, curtail access to the USCIS AAO for appeals and require electronic submission for all immigration benefit requests in April 2019, and eliminate the ability to file the I-140 petition and I-485 application concurrently in September 2019.

Notice to Appear Policy Memorandum

USCIS has issued a new policy memorandum affecting immigrants with certain application denials. Under this new policy memorandum, USCIS can issue Form I-862, Notice to Appear, or “NTA” to certain petitioners or applicants with denied status-impacting applications. An NTA instructs an immigrant to appear before an immigration judge, and is typically issued to immigrants who are no longer within a period of authorized stay. The issuance of an NTA is the first step in the removal proceedings process.

Beginning on October 1, 2018, USCIS may issue an NTA to individuals who have a denied status-impacting application.

Starting on November 19, 2018, USCIS can also issue an NTA based on the denial of other underlying form types. These forms include:

·         Form I-914/I-914A, Applications for T Nonimmigrant Status

·         Form I-918 Petitions for U Nonimmigrant Status

·         I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Violence Against Women Act self-petitions and Special Immigrant Juvenile Petitions)

·         Form I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant

·         I-730 Refugee/Asylee Relative Petitions

·         I-485 Applications to Register Permanent Residence or Adjustment of Status

You can find more information about the new Notice to Appear policy memorandum here.

Medical Exam (Form I-693) Validity Extended to Two Years

On October 16, USCIS issued a new policy guideline for foreign nationals submitting a medical exam with Adjustment of Status applications. Form I-693, otherwise known as immigration medical exams, are required by USCIS to determine if an applicant is inadmissible to the United States for health reasons. Before the new policy was put into place, Form I-693 medical exams were only valid for one year.

While the new policy guideline extends the validity of Form I-693 to two years, applicants should take note that the medical exam must have been performed within sixty days of filing the applicant’s Adjustment of Status application. If a medical exam is performed more than sixty days before the Adjustment of Status application is filed, the medical exam will no longer be valid. USCIS indicated in this policy update that the new guidelines are effective for all new and pending I-485 Adjustment of Status applications.

The advantage of this new policy update is that a medical exam submitted with an Adjustment of Status is less likely to expire while the application is still pending. Before the validity period of the medical exam was extended from one year to two, permanent residency applications were often delayed due to expired medical exams. Since the medical exam must be valid at the time of adjudication, expired medical exams often caused Requests for Evidence (RFEs) asking for a valid medical exam, which in turn imposed unnecessary and expensive return trips to a civil surgeon for permanent residency applicants. In the new policy update, USCIS cites improvements to operational efficiencies and a reduction in Requests for Evidence as the primary reasons for increasing the validity period of medical exams.  

Proposed Change to Public Charge Rule

On September 22, the Department of Homeland Security has issued a new proposal to change the definition of ‘public charge’. In broad terms, ‘public charge’ means an individual may become dependent on government assistance, such as income maintenance. Aliens seeking permanent residency may be inadmissible on the grounds of public charge.  The Department of Homeland Security’s proposal aims to broaden the legal definition of public charge determinations.

Based on the unofficial proposed rule, individuals may be considered under the new public charge definition if they receive public benefits including supplemental security income, income maintenance, Medicare and some Medicaid, public or Section 8 housing, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or institutionalization. It’s important to note that the proposed definition change to public charge does have some exceptions to certain categories of vulnerable aliens, including refugees, members of the U.S. armed forces, and asylees.  

The Department of Homeland Security indicates in this proposal that several factors will be heavily weighted when considering whether an alien may become a public charge, including education, whether the alien has received or receives public benefits, age, and ability of the alien to obtain health insurance.

In addition to modifying the definition of public charge, the proposed policy also seeks to increase the costs of I-485, I-129, I-129CW, and I-539 applications. The proposed new rule would also add additional costs to filing applications related to the public charge bond process, including Form I-945 and Form I-356.

Another aspect that is important to consider is that the final rule, if approved, is subject to a mandatory comment period before it can be finalized. This could take anywhere between several months to over a year to complete. A copy of the unofficial DHS proposal can be found here.

Unlawful Presence Policy

In August 2018, USCIS issued a new unlawful presence policy for F-1 and J-1 students. Essentially, the policy memo states that F-1 and J-1 nonimmigrants begin accruing unlawful presence starting from when they violate their nonimmigrant status. This USCIS policy memo also provided new guidance about what constitutes unlawful presence, as well as any exceptions to this rule.

Now, several U.S. colleges and universities are suing the Trump administration over this policy memorandum. Universities including Haverford College and the New School in New York City allege that USCIS violated the Administrative Procedure Act’s formal notice requirements. Moreover, the lawsuit also alleges that the new policy memo is intentionally designed to unfairly punish student visa holders and their dependents, with a potential punishment ranging from a 3-year or 10-year bar on re-entry to the United States. There are an estimated 1.2 million nonimmigrants on F, J, and M visas affected by this policy. The lawsuit is also concerned about the severity of punishment for even minor infractions, such as spelling or typographical mistakes.

This policy memorandum also poses a challenge to students attempting to calculate their accrual of unlawful presence. Unlike other visas, students are admitted for a period of ‘duration of stay’ throughout their authorized studies. This makes it challenging to calculate how much unlawful presence a nonimmigrant has accrued.


In June of this year, the USCIS issued a new policy memorandum with updated guidelines regarding when the USCIS should issue a Notice to Appear, or NTA, which instructs an individual to appear in court before an immigration judge. A NTA provides information about when and where the individual should appear and initiates removal proceedings against a noncitizen. Prior to this June 2018 memo, there were only a handful of situations in which the USCIS was instructed to issue a NTA. Instead, the enforcement branches of the Department of Homeland Security (such as ICE) usually issued NTAs. However, the June 2018 memo supersedes a previous 2011 memo and greatly increases the number of situations that require or permit the USCIS to issue an NTA.


Specifically, the new June 2018 memo states that the USCIS will issue a NTA if they deny a case for an individual who is not lawfully present in the United States. Previously, the USCIS had the discretion to issue a NTA, and generally only did so in cases involving fraud, crimes, or national security. However, under the new June 2018 memo, the USCIS is explicitly directed to issue a NTA if the beneficiary of the petition is out of status at the time the petition is denied.


Earlier this week, the USCIS provided some clarification about when and how this policy is being implemented. They announced their commitment to implementing the new policy and stated that it will go into effect on October 1, 2018. While the USCIS is still committed to moving forward with the new policy, they have clarified their intent to implement the new policy only gradually. In particular, they are not enforcing this policy with respect to employment-based petitions and humanitarian applications at this time, stating they plan to follow existing guidance with regard to these petition types for the time being.

O-1A Visa: Does the “O” Stand for “Overlooked”?

The O-1A visa is available for individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics. Often rumors float around that an O-1A visa requires awards comparable to a Nobel Prize, Lasker Award, Olympic Medal, etc. While these are classic examples of achievements that may garner a granting of an O-1A visa, USCIS specifically sets out evidentiary criteria in recognition that an individual may have extraordinary ability without having earned such an accolade.

A common misconception is that an O-1A visa is simply the non-immigrant version of the EB-1A visa. While the criteria for each are similar, there are notable differences in the standards set for each visa type. Whether or not you may be able to qualify for an O-1A visa depends on your individual circumstances and the job for which the visa is being sought. Whether you are a Research Fellow, Resident Physician, Computer Scientist, Professor, or virtually any other position in the sciences, education, business, or athletics, and O-1A visa could be the right option for someone.

The following is a small sample of the pros/cons of the O-1A visa:


- Quick adjudication turnaround – allows for premium processing
- No annual cap on number of visas available
- No prevailing wage process or advertising requirements


-Generally requires a lot of documentation/careful discussion of individual achievements
-Does not offer work authorization for O-3 dependents
-Requires an employer-sponsor of the petition for the particular position sought

In short, if you are an employer, or an individual with an employer seeking to hire you and you need quick work authorization, then the O-1A visa is worth exploring. It has several advantages over visas such as the H-1B and L-1, and too often the O-1A visa is overlooked in terms of its usefulness/viability. 

Visa Bulletin Update

Charles (“Charlie”) Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division of the U.S. Department of State, has provided predictions for the upcoming visa bulletin. Charlie sets “Dates for Filing” based on Final Action Date estimates over the course of the next 8 to 12 months. 

In essence, the visa bulletin provides a look into when certain visas will be available to immigrants filing for adjustment of status (I-485) to obtain lawful permanent residency by either employment-based or family-sponsored petitions. The visa bulletin indicates when the “Final Action Dates” of certain visa classes will become current. In other words, the visa bulletin indicates the earliest date applicants can file their adjustment of status applications. The visa bulletin provides earliest filing dates for applicants based on country of birth.


Charlie indicated that EB-1 Worldwide Final Action Date will move to April 1, 2017 based on the October 2018 Visa Bulletin. Charlie predicted that the EB-1 Worldwide priority date will not likely become current before 2019 due to the EB-1 demand. However, Charlie stated that EB-1 Worldwide would likely advance forward in early 2019 (i.e. ~January). Due to the demand of EB-1 at this time, Charlie is unable to predict if and when EB-1 Worldwide would become current in FY2019.

For applicants born in India and China, Charlie does not anticipate any advancement of the Final Action Date in EB-1 categories before January 2019.

EB-2 and EB-3 Worldwide

Charlie indicated that both EB-2 and EB-3 Worldwide categories would return to current in October. He anticipates that both categories will remain current through the calendar year.