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February 2019 Visa Bulletin Updates

The Department of State (DOS) February 2019 Visa Bulletin shows considerably more movement in employment-based categories than in January. The EB-1 category will advance two months in all countries, with China and India advancing to Feb. 8, 2017, and all other countries moving forward to Dec. 1, 2017. The EB-2 category will remain current for all countries except China, advancing to Oct. 1, 2015, and India, advancing to April 6, 2009.

Although most countries will remain current on the EB-3 category, China will advance to July 1, 2015; India will advance to April 22, 2009; and the Philippines will advance to Aug. 1, 2017. Notably, India’s final action date in the EB-3 category has surpassed the EB-2 category, leaving EB-3 India with a more favorable final action date than that of EB-2 India.

The EB-4 dates will remain current for most countries except for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, which will advance by one week to March 1, 2016, and Mexico, which will advance to September 1, 2017. In the EB-5 non-regional center categories, the date for Vietnam will advance to June 15, 2016, but the date for China will remain the same, which is set at September 1, 2014. Dates will remain current for all other countries in the EB-5 non-regional center categories.

The EB-4 religious workers and regional center EB-5 categories will remain listed as unavailable as the laws authorizing those categories expired after midnight Dec. 20, 2018, and Dec. 21, 2018, respectively. Accordingly, no EB-4 religious workers visa may be issued, or a final action taken on an adjustment of status application, after midnight Dec. 20, 2018. Further, individuals seeking admission in this category must have been admitted into the United States no later than midnight Dec. 20, 2018.

If Congress reauthorizes these categories as is expected, the cutoff dates in February for certain religious workers would immediately become “Current” for February for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras which would be subject to a March 1, 2016 final action date, and for Mexico which would be subject to a September 1, 2017 final action date. Similarly, upon an extension of the program, the cutoff date for EB5 regional center cases would immediately become “Current” for February for all countries except China-mainland born, which would be subject to a September 1, 2014 final action date and Vietnam, which would be subject to a June 15, 2016 final action date. GT will be closely monitoring these advancements as they unfold.

For those seeking to adjust status, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) website indicates that the department’s Final Action Dates chart must be used for filing Form I-485.

Referring to the Final Action Dates, following are updates for the February Visa Bulletin:

Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases

Dates for Filing of Employment-Based Visa Applications

The February 2019 Visa Bulletin includes projections for visa availability in the coming months, through May 2019. The projections provided for the employment-based categories are as follows:

EB-1:

Worldwide (most countries):  Up to two months.
China and India:  Up to one month.

EB-2:

Worldwide:     Current for the foreseeable future.
China:             Up to three months.
India:               Up to one week  

EB-3:

Worldwide:     Current
China:             Up to three weeks.
India:               Up to three months.
Mexico:           Current
Philippines:     Rapid movement to generate demand.

EB-4:   Current for most countries.

El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras:    Up to one week.
Mexico:    Rapid forward movement until limit is reached.

EB-5:   The category will remain “Current” for most countries.

China-mainland born:  Up to one week.
Vietnam:  Up to three weeks.

©2019 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved.

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About this Author

Associate

Yalexa Matos focuses her practice on employment-based non-immigrant and immigrant visas, including H1-B, L-1, TN, and R-1 visas. She represents clients on PERM applications, family-sponsored petitions, asylum applications, relief from removal, special immigrant juvenile petitions, child custody, and support petitions.

While she was in law school, Yalexa was an intern with the Columbus Community Legal Services, Legal and Family Clinic and with the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Through these internships, she gained experience in a variety of immigration and...

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