October 2019 Visa Bulletin: USCIS to Honor EB-2 and EB-3 Filing Eligibility Dates

October-2019-Visa-Bulletin

October 2019 Visa Bulletin: EB-2 China Retrogresses, EB-2 and EB-3 Become Current for Most Countries; USCIS to Honor Filing Eligibility Dates.

According to the State Department’s October Visa Bulletin, cutoff dates for issuance of an immigrant visa will be as follows:

  • EB-1: All countries except for China and India will advance to April 22, 2018, returning to July Visa Bulletin cut-off dates as expected. China will advance to November 1, 2016. India will revert to January 1, 2015, its cut-off date for July.
  • EB-2: China will retrogress by two years to January 1, 2015, while India will advance by four days, to May 12, 2009.  All other countries will become current.
  • EB-3 Professional and Skilled Workers: China will advance by almost two years , to November 1, 2015, while India will advance by three and a half years, to January 1, 2009. The Philippines will advance by more than one year to October 15, 2017. All of these dates are further retrogressions from the July Visa Bulletin. All remaining countries will return to current in October.
  • EB-5: The Non-Regional Center categories will become current for most countries. China will remain at its October 22, 2014 cut-off date. India will advance by almost three months, to November 22, 2017. Vietnam will advance by almost two years to October 15, 2016. The Regional Center program is set to expire on September 30, 2019 and will become unavailable unless reauthorized.

In recent Visa Bulletins, the State Department indicated it hoped to return recently retrogressed categories to cut-off dates seen in July or August, when visa availability began to dwindle toward the close of FY 2019.  At the start of FY 2020 on October 1, many categories will revert to the same or approximate cut-off dates seen in the July Visa Bulletin, as projected by the State Department. However, there are some notable exceptions, including EB-1 China and EB-3 China and India, which retrogressed further than the July cut-off dates. The steep retrogression in the EB-2 China category appears to be unexpected based on prior agency predictions.

USCIS to honor dates for filing

USCIS has announced on its own Visa Bulletin web page that it will honor the Visa Bulletin Filing Eligibility Dates, rather than Final Action Dates, for acceptance of adjustment of status filings next month. The Filing Eligibility Dates – listed below — are more favorable than Final Action Dates next month.

Impact of possible program expirations

The EB-4 Non-Minister Religious Worker and EB-5 Regional Center programs are set to expire on September 30, 2019. Unless Congress reauthorizes these programs or passes a temporary spending measure, immigrant visas in these subcategories will become unavailable in October. The EB-5 Non-Regional Center program will not be affected.

Should the EB-5 Regional Center program be reauthorized, cut-off dates in the category will mirror the dates for the Non-Regional Center program in October.

Immigrant visa availability in the coming months

In the October Bulletin, the State Department provides projections for visa availability through January 2020. Projections always remain subject to a change in visa demand. The Department predicts the following potential monthly cut-off date movements:

  • EB-1: Little, if any, forward movement is expected for India. All other countries could see forward movement of up to three months.
  • EB-2: India could advance up to one week and China up to two months. Remaining countries are expected to remain current.
  • EB-3: India and China are expected to see little, if any, advancement, while the Philippines could advance up to several months. All other countries are expected to remain current.
  • EB-5: It is too early to predict movement for China, India and Vietnam. All other countries are expected to remain current.

FINAL ACTION CUT-OFF DATES FOR OCTOBER 2019

EB-1

India: January 1, 2015

China: November 1, 2016

All other countries: April 22, 2018

EB-2

China: January 1, 2015

India: May 12, 2009

All other countries: Current

EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers

China: November 1, 2015

India: January 1, 2009

Philippines: October 15, 2017

All other countries: Current

EB-3 Other Workers

China: January 1, 2008

India: January 1, 2009

Philippines: October 15, 2017

All other countries: Current

EB-4*

El Salvador, Guatemala Honduras: July 1, 2016

All other countries: Current

*Non-minister special immigrant religious worker program unavailable unless reauthorized by legislation

EB-5*

China: October 22, 2014

Vietnam: October 15, 2016

India: November 22, 2017

All other countries: Current

*Regional Center program unavailable unless reauthorized by legislation

FILING ELIGIBILITY CUT-OFF DATES FOR OCTOBER 2019

EB-1

China: September 1, 2017

India: March 15, 2017

All other countries: July 1, 2019

EB-2

China: August 1, 2016

India: July 1, 2009

All other countries: Current

EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers

China: March 1, 2017

India: February 1, 2010

All other countries: Current

EB-3 Other Workers

China: August 1, 2008

India: February 1, 2010

All other countries: Current

EB-4

El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras: August 15, 2016

All other countries: Current

EB-5

China: January 1, 2015

All other countries: Current


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