December 2018 Visa Bulletin and Adjustment of Status Filing Charts

by Alexander J. Segal on Dec. 13, 2018

Immigration Immigration  Deportation Immigration  Visa 

Summary: On November 8, 2018, the U.S. Department of State published the Visa Bulletin for December 2018. The Visa Bulletin for December 2018–like all other visa bulletins–contains final action dates and dates for filing for the family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories for that month.

immigration attorney nycIntroduction

On November 8, 2018, the U.S. Department of State published the Visa Bulletin for December 2018 [PDF version]. The Visa Bulletin for December 2018 — like all other visa bulletins — contains final action dates and dates for filing for the family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories for that month. Just five days after the publication of the December Visa Bulletin, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published good news for both family-sponsored and employment-based adjustment of status hopefuls, requiring both to use the filing dates for determining eligibility to apply for adjustment of status in December in lieu of the more restrictive final action dates [PDF version].

In this article, we will review the relevant charts, news, and notes from the December 2018 Visa Bulletin, with a focus on adjustment of status applicants.

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

Family-Sponsored Cases in the December 2018 Visa Bulletin

The USCIS is requiring family-sponsored adjustment of status applicants to use the dates for filing from the December 2018 Visa Bulletin. This marks the fifteenth straight month in which family sponsored applicants have been required to use the more favorable filing dates.

In order to be eligible to file for adjustment of status in December 2018, the applicant's priority date must be earlier than the applicable filing date cutoff for his or her family-sponsored preference category and chargeability area on the December 2018 Visa Bulletin. In family-sponsored cases, an applicant's filing date is generally the date on which the immigrant visa petition was properly filed on his or her behalf with the USCIS. Finally, in order to be eligible to apply for adjustment, the applicant must be otherwise eligible for adjustment of status under the applicable statutes and regulations.

Below are the family-sponsored filing dates from the December 2018 Visa Bulletin [see here].

For reference purposes, bellow are the final action dates from the December 2018 Visa Bulletin [see here].

Employment-Based Cases in the December 2018 Visa Bulletin

The USCIS is requiring employment-based applicants to use the filing dates from the December 2018 Visa Bulletin. This is a welcome change for the employment-based categories, which had been required to use the final action dates for ten out of twelve months in fiscal year 2017 and all of fiscal year 2018.

In order to be eligible to file for adjustment of status in December 2018, the applicant's priority date must be earlier than the applicable filing date cutoff for his or her family-sponsored preference category and chargeability area on the December 2018 Visa Bulletin. Determining the filing date in employment-based cases tends to depend on the type of petition in question. In cases where labor certification was required, the filing date is generally the date on which the labor certification application was accepted for processing by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In cases where labor certification was not required, the priority date is generally the date on which the immigrant visa petition was properly filed on the beneficiary's behalf, much like family-sponsored cases. Separate from the visa bulletin dates, an applicant must be otherwise eligible to file for adjustment of status under the statutes and regulations.

Before continuing, there are two important notes about the Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR) and the Employment Fifth Preference Categories (I5 and R5). These three categories require renewal by Congress to continue beyond December 7, 2018. If Congress does not extend the programs, no new visas will be able to be issued in these categories after December 7, 2018. The SR date would become unavailable on December 7, 2018, and the I5 and R5 dates would become unavailable on December 8, 2018. Extensions of these categories are tied to the broader effort to pass legislation to fund the government more broadly. It is possible that the categories will be allowed to lapse for a short period, but even in such a case, the lapse would likely be temporary. Individuals seeking visas in these categories — whether through consular processing or adjustment of status — should consult with their immigration attorneys for updates on the situation. We will update the website as more information becomes available.

Below are the employment-based filing dates from the Visa Bulletin for December 2018 [see here].

For reference purposes, below are the employment-based final action dates from the Visa Bulletin for December 2018 [see here].

Conclusion

Beneficiaries of approved preference petitions should stay abreast of the immigrant visa bulletin so that they will be ready to take action when it comes time to apply for a visa. This is especially important for adjustment of status applicants because they are required to actually apply for adjustment of status. An experienced immigration attorney can help immigrant visa applicants navigate the entire process both in consular processing and adjustment of status cases.

We will update this article with more information about SR, I5, and R5 cases if they are allowed to temporarily lapse.

Please visit the nyc immigration lawyers website for further information. The Law Offices of Grinberg & Segal, PLLC focuses vast segment of its practice on immigration law. This steadfast dedication has resulted in thousands of immigrants throughout the United States.

Lawyer website: http://myattorneyusa.com

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