November 18, 2018

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US Department of State Releases March 2018 Visa Bulletin

Cutoff dates for all employment-based categories show minimal advancement.

The US Department of State has released its March 2018 Visa Bulletin setting out per-country priority date cutoffs that regulate immigrant visa availability and the flow of status adjustments and consular immigrant visa application filings and approvals.

What Does the March 2018 Visa Bulletin Say?

The 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 adjustments of status or immigrant visas, and the latter indicates when adjustment of status applications or immigrant visa applications may be approved and permanent residence granted. Unless otherwise indicated on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website, individuals seeking to file applications for adjustment of status with USCIS must use the Application Final Action Dates chart below. USCIS has not yet indicated which set of cutoff dates will control in March, and has stated that it expects to provide this information within a week.

To be eligible to file an employment-based (EB) adjustment application in March 2018, a foreign national must have a priority date that is earlier than the date listed below for his or her 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

08DEC13 (was01OCT13)

C

15DEC08
(was 08DEC8) 

C

C

3rd

C

15NOV14 was 15SEP14) 

C

01JAN07
(was 01DEC06)

C

01MAY16
(was 01MAR16)

Other Workers

C

01MAR07
(was 01FEB07)

C

01JAN07
(was 01DEC06)

C

01MAY16
(was 01MAR16)

 

On the Application Final Action Dates chart, the cutoff dates for EB-1 for all chargeable countries, including India and China, and the EB-2 cutoff dates for the rest of the world and the El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Philippines allotment will remain “current.” The EB-2 cutoff for China will advance by five weeks to December 8, 2013. Cutoff dates for EB-2 India will move forward one week to December 15, 2008.

The EB-3 cutoff dates for the worldwide allotment as well as for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico will remain “current.” The cutoff date for EB-3 China will advance by two months to November 15, 2014, and the cutoff date for EB-3 India will advance by one month to January 1, 2007. The cutoff date for EB-3 Philippines will advance by two months to May 1, 2016.

Note that for China, the EB-3 cutoff dates continue to be significantly ahead of the EB-2 cutoff dates (November 15, 2014 vs. December 8, 2013).

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

01FEB15
(was NOV14)

08FEB09

C

C

3rd

C

01JAN16

01JAN08

C

01OCT16
(was 01AUG16)

Other Workers

C

01JUN08

01JAN08

C

01OCT16
(was 01AUG16)

The Dates for Filing chart shows advancement for China and Mexico cutoff dates only. Cutoff dates for EB-2 China will advance by two-and-a-half months to February 1, 2015. Cutoff dates for EB-3 Philippines will advance by two months to October 1, 2016.

EB-1 will remain “current” for all chargeable countries, including India and China. The EB-2 cutoff dates for the rest of the world and the El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Philippines allotment will also remain “current.” Cutoff dates for EB-2 India will remain at February 8, 2009, and for China “other workers” the cutoff dates will remain at June 1, 2008. Cutoff dates for EB-3 India will remain at January 1, 2008, and India “other workers” will remain at January 1, 2008.

Copyright © 2018 by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. All Rights Reserved.

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About this Author

A James Vazquez-Azpiri, Morgan Lewis, employment attorney
Partner

A. James Vázquez-Azpiri counsels corporate clients on hiring and retaining foreign employees in his business immigration law practice. He advises businesses on labor certifications, specialty occupation petitions, and intracompany transfers. Clients rely on James for guidance through immigration law compliance during mergers, acquisitions, and corporate restructurings. He helps clients think and work proactively by providing them with traditional compliance policy reviews and audits, case management and litigation technology, and international executive travel and...

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