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Department of State Releases March 2017 Visa Bulletin

No change in Dates for Filing chart again; China EB-3 advances 6.5 months in Final Action Dates chart.

The US Department of State (DOS) has released its March 2017 Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletin sets out per-country priority date cutoffs that regulate immigrant visa availability and the flow of adjustment of status and consular immigrant visa application filings and approvals.

What Does the March 2017 Visa Bulletin Say?

The March 2017 Visa Bulletin includes both a Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart and an Application Final Action Dates chart. The former indicates when intending immigrants may file their applications for adjustment of status or immigrant visas, and the latter indicates when an adjustment of status application or immigrant visa application may be approved and permanent residence granted.

If US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines that there are more immigrant visas available for a fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, it will state on its website that applicants may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart. Otherwise, applicants should use the Application Final Action Dates chart to determine when they may file their adjustment of status applications.

It is not yet clear which chart the USCIS will select for March 2017 filings. To be eligible to file an employment-based (EB) adjustment application in March 2017, foreign nationals must have a priority date that is earlier than the date listed below for their preference category and country (changes from last month’s Visa Bulletin are shown in yellow).

Application Final Action Dates

EB

All Charge-

ability 

Areas Except

Those Listed

China

(mainland 

born)

El Salvador, 

Guatemala, 

and Honduras

India

Mexico

Philippines

1st

C

C

C

C

C

C

2nd

C

15DEC12 (was 15NOV12)

C

01JUNE08 (was 15APR08)

C

C

3rd

01DEC16 (was 01OCT16)

15MAR14 (was 01OCT13)

01DEC16 (was 01OCT16)

22MAR05

01DEC16 (was 01OCT16)

15MAR12 (was 15OCT11)

Other Workers

01DEC16 (was 01OCT16)

01FEB06 (was 01DEC05)

01DEC16 (was 01OCT16)

22MAR05

01DEC16 (was 01OCT16)

15MAR12 (was 15OCT11)

Dates for Filing Visa Applications

EB

All Charge-

ability 

Areas Except

Those Listed

China

(mainland 

born)

India

Mexico

Philippines

1st

C

C

C

C

C

2nd

C

01MAR13

22APR09

C

C

3rd

C

01MAY14

01JUL05 

C

01SEP13

Other Workers

C

01AUG09

01JUL05 

C

01SEP13 

On the Application Final Action Dates chart, the cutoff dates for EB-1 will remain "current" for all chargeable countries, including India and China.

The EB-2 cutoff date for China will advance by one month to December 15, 2012. The EB-2 cutoff dates for the worldwide allotment as well as El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the Philippines will also remain "current." Cutoff dates will advance by six weeks to June 1, 2008 for EB-2 India.

Most significantly, the EB-3 cutoff date for China will advance by 6.5 months to March 15, 2014. The cutoff dates for the worldwide allotment as well as El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico will advance by two months to December 1, 2016. The cutoff date for EB-3 India will not change and will remain at March 22, 2005. The cutoff date for EB-3 Philippines will advance by six months to March 15, 2012.

The EB-5 China cutoff date will advance by two weeks to May 1, 2014.

Read the March 2017 Visa Bulletin.

Copyright © 2017 by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. All Rights Reserved.

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About this Author

Partner

A. James Vázquez-Azpiri is a partner in Morgan Lewis's Labor and Employment Practice. Mr. Vázquez-Azpiri focuses his practice on business immigration law, assisting corporate clients with hiring and retaining foreign employees with regard to labor certifications, specialty occupation petitions and intra-company transfers. Mr. Vázquez-Azpiri is also a leading expert on immigration law compliance in the context of mergers, acquisitions and corporate restructuring. Mr. Vázquez-Azpiri helps clients think and work proactively by providing them with traditional compliance...

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