Visa Bulletin for August 2019

by Alexander J. Segal on Aug. 21, 2019

Immigration Immigration  Deportation Immigration  Visa 

Summary: On July 5, 2019 The U.S. Department of State (DOS) released its monthly Visa Bulletin August 2019 – the penultimate month of FY 2019.

immigration attorney nycIntroduction

On July 5, 2019 The U.S. Department of State (DOS) released its monthly Visa Bulletin August 2019 — the penultimate month of FY 2019 [PDF version]. The August 2019 Visa Bulletin contains the dates for filing and application final action dates for beneficiaries of approved immigrant visa petitions in the family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories. On July 16, 2019, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that most family-sponsored adjustment of status applicants must rely upon the August 2019 Visa Bulletin's dates for filing to determine eligibility to file for adjustment during the month, while all employment-based adjustment of status applicants must use the less favorable final action dates [PDF version].

We will examine the pertinent charts from the August 2019 Visa Bulletin, their applicability to those planning to apply for adjustment of status on the basis of an approved family-sponsored or employment-based preference petition, and other general news and notes from the Bulletin as we approach the end of FY 2019.

We have several resources on site to help readers understand the Visa Bulletin and its relevance in many adjustment of status cases. First, please see our article on using the Visa Bulletin as an adjustment of status applicant, and how that use differs from an individual seeking an immigrant visa abroad through the consular process [see article]. Second, please see our article explaining the differences between the dates for filing and the final action dates [see article]. Third, please see our compendium of past articles on visa bulletins [see index].

Family-Sponsored Cases

In welcome news for beneficiaries of approved family-sponsored immigrant visa petitions seeking adjustment of status, the USCIS has determined that beneficiaries of such petitions in all categories except for F2A must use the favorable dates for filing in order to determine if they are eligible to apply for adjustment of status in August 2019. Beneficiaries of F2A petitions are in the most favorable position, however, because while they must use the final action dates from the August 2019 Visa Bulletin, the final action date for all F2A petitions is “current.” This means that the beneficiary of an approved F2A petition is eligible to apply for adjustment of status in August 2019, provided that he or she meets the substantive requirements for adjustment.

Beneficiaries of non-F2A approved family-sponsored immigrant visa preference petitions seeking adjustment of status must compare their filing date with the applicable filing date cutoff on the August 2019 Visa Bulletin. In order to apply for adjustment of status in August 2019, the beneficiary of an approved family-sponsored immigrant visa preference petition must have a filing date before the applicable filing date for his or her preference category and chargeability area.

The filing date in family-sponsored cases is generally the date on which the immigrant visa petition was properly filed with the USCIS on the beneficiary's behalf. As we noted, beneficiaries of approved immigrant visa petitions in the F2A category may apply for adjustment in August 2019 regardless of their filing dates since the final action date for F2A in August 2019 is current.

The Visa Bulletin deals only with whether visa numbers are available in a specific preference category. A petition beneficiary must also meet the substantive requirements for eligibility to apply for adjustment of status in order to apply for adjustment in August 2019 or in any other month.

The following, courtesy of the USCIS, are the final action dates for F2A preference petitions in August 2019 [see here].

The following, courtesy of the USCIS, are the filing dates for all family-sponsored cases except for F2A in August 2019 [see here].

For reference purposes only, below are the final action dates for the family-sponsored preferences from the August 2019 Visa Bulletin. All non-F2A cases must rely instead on the dates for filing for purpose of determining eligibility to apply for adjustment of status during August 2019 [see here].

Employment-Based Cases

The USCIS has determined that all beneficiaries of employment-based preference petitions must rely on the final action dates in the August 2019 Visa Bulletin. Thus, in order to apply for adjustment of status in August 2019 on the basis of an approved employment-based preference petition, the applicant's filing date must be before the applicable final action cutoff date — except in cases where the final action date is current, which allows all beneficiaries of approved petitions in that preference who are otherwise eligible for adjustment to apply for adjustment of status in August 2019.

In employment-based cases where labor certification was required, the filing date will generally be the date on which the labor certification application was accepted for processing by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In cases where no labor certification was required, the priority date will generally be the date on which the immigrant visa petition was properly filed with the USCIS.

The Visa Bulletin deals only with whether visa numbers are available in a specific preference category. A petition beneficiary must also meet the substantive requirements for eligibility to apply for adjustment of status in order to apply for adjustment in August 2019 or in any other month.

The following, courtesy of the USCIS, are the final action dates for employment-based cases in August 2019 [see here].

For reference purposes only — since beneficiaries of approved employment-based petitions must rely upon the final action dates to determine whether they can apply for adjustment of status in August 2019 — the following are the dates for filing for employment-based cases in August 2019, reproduced from the August 2019 Visa Bulletin [see here].

Establishment and Retrogression of August Employment-Based Final Action Dates

The DOS explained in the Visa Bulletin that “[t]here has been a steadily increasing level of Employment applicant demand since late May for adjustment of status cases filed with the [USCIS], and there is no indication that this increase will end.” Thus, in order to keep visa issuance within the annual limits, the DOS established and retrogressed several employment-based final action dates in August 2019. These measures are temporary — and the final action dates for affected categories/chargeability areas are expected to return to where they were in July 2019 [see article] for the October 2019 Visa Bulletin — which will mark the first bulletin for fiscal year 2020.

Conclusion

As always, beneficiaries of approved preference petitions who are planning to apply for adjustment of status should stay abreast of developments in the immigrant visa bulletin. The bulletin also gives those seeking visas through consular processing an idea of when they may be permitted to apply for an immigrant visa. Petitioners and beneficiaries should consult with an experienced immigration attorney for guidance on any and all case-specific questions.

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.

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