On September 11, 2017, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) released the Visa Bulletin for October 2017 [PDF version
]. The October 2017 Visa Bulletin is the first Visa Bulletin of Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. On September 15, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determined that family-sponsored adjustment of status applicants may rely on the dates for filing chart for October 2017, but that employment-based applicants must use the less generous final action date chart [PDF version
]. The USCIS's determination that employment-based adjustment of status applicants must use the final action dates is a shift from both October of FY 2015 and October of FY 2016, when employment-based applicants were permitted to use the dates for filing chart.
In this article, we will reproduce the relevant charts from the October 2017 Visa Bulletin along with other notes included by the DOS.
Please see our full article on using the visa bulletin for guidance on how it applies both to adjustment of status applicants and to those who are seeking their immigrant visas through consular processing [see article
]. Please also see our full article on the differences between the final action dates and the dates for filing [see article
Finally, please see our list of articles on prior visa bulletins [see article
The USCIS determined that beneficiaries of approved family-sponsored immigrant visa petitions can use the dates for filing chart for determining eligibility to apply for adjustment of status in October of 2017. The dates for filing are slightly more generous than the final action dates. In October 2017, the beneficiary of an approved family-sponsored petition may apply for adjustment of status if his or her priority date is earlier than the applicable final date for his or her preference category and chargeability area. The priority date is the date on which the immigrant visa petition was properly filed for the majority of family-sponsored cases.
The following is the list of filing dates for family-sponsored preference cases in October 2017, courtesy of USCIS [see here
For your reference, we are including the final action dates for family-sponsored cases in October 2017. The final action dates are the dates on which final action may be taken on an application for an immigrant visa. It is important to reiterate that adjustment of status applicants may rely on the filing dates listed above for October 2017.
The following is the list of final action dates for family-sponsored preference cases in October 2017, courtesy of DOS [see here
Unlike family-sponsored cases, the USCIS determined that employment-based adjustment of status applicants must rely on the final action dates for October 2017. Accordingly, the beneficiary of an employment-based immigrant visa petition may apply for adjustment of status only if his or her priority date is before the applicable final action cutoff date for his or her applicable preference category and chargeability area. The priority date will generally be the date on which the labor certification application was approved for by the U.S. Department of Labor for petitions for which labor certification was required. In cases in which labor certification was not required, the priority date will generally be when the employment-based petition was properly filed.
The following is the list of filing dates for employment-based preference cases in October 2017, courtesy of USCIS [see here
NEWS ON VISA AVAILABILITY FOR UPCOMING MONTHS
The DOS included news about potential movement of final action dates in upcoming visa bulletins.
First, the DOS offered the following projections for the forward movement of family-sponsored worldwide final action dates:
- F1: Up to several months
- F2A: Up to one month
- F2B: Up to one month
- F3: Three or four weeks
- F4: Two or three weeks
Here, the DOS projects potentially significant movement in the F1 worldwide dates, and more limited forward movement in the other family-sponsored preferences.
The DOS then provided the following projections for the forward movement of dates in the following employment-based preferences and chargeability areas:
- Employment First: Will remain current
- Employment Second (Worldwide): Will remain current
- Employment Second (China): Up to four weeks
- Employment Second (India): Up to one month
- Employment Third (Worldwide): Will remain current
- Employment Third (China): Up to four months
- Employment Third (India): Limited forward movement
- Employment Third (Mexico): Will remain current
- Employment Third (Philippines): Up to two months
- Employment Fourth (Most countries): Will remain current
- Employment Fourth (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras): Up to three weeks
- Employment Fourth (Mexico): Some forward movement
- Employment Fifth (Most countries): Will remain current
- Employment Fifth (China): Up to one week
The DOS reminded readers of the October 2017 Visa Bulletin that these projections are based on what is likely to happen based on current applicant demand patterns. The projections are not guarantees of future final action date movement. Changes in demand for immigrant visas in a specific preference category and chargeability area may lead to the movement in final action dates not aligning with the DOS's current projections.
SPECIAL IMMIGRANT (SI) TRANSLATOR CATEGORY VISA AVAILABILITY
The DOS explained that there are only 50 Special Immigrant Visas in the SI category available per fiscal year. Accordingly, it expects to reach the annual limit early in FY 2018. For this reason, the DOS established a final action date of April 1, 2010, for the SI category for October 2017. Once the annual limit of 50 SI category visas has been reached, the DOS will be unable to grant more visas in the category until October 2018.
The DOS added that the “SQ Special Immigrant Visa category for certain Iraqi and Afghan nationals employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq or Afghanistan is not affected and remains current.”
Beneficiaries of approved immigrant visa petitions should stay abreast of developments in the visa bulletin. This is especially important for adjustment of status applicants. Those seeking immigrant visas should remain in contact with an experienced immigration attorney throughout the entire process. Please continue to follow our website for developments related to the immigrant visa bulletin.
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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.