No change in Dates for Filing chart; small gains in Final Action Dates chart.

The US Department of State (DOS) has released its December 2016 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 December 2016 Visa Bulletin Say?

The December 2016 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 December 2016 filings. To be eligible to file an employment-based (EB) adjustment application in December 2016, foreign nationals must have a priority date that is earlier than the date listed below for their preference category and country (changes from the last two months’ Visa Bulletin dates are shown in yellow). For the past two months, USCIS has allowed adjustment of status applications to be filed using the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart for EB-1 through EB-4 filings.

Application Final Action Dates

Please click here to view table.

Dates for Filing Visa Applications

Please click here to view table.

How This Affects You

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 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 three months for EB-2 India and by over two months for EB-2 China.

The EB-3 cutoff dates for the worldwide allotment as well as El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico will remain at July 1, 2016. Cutoff dates will advance by two and a half months to July 1, 2013 for EB-3 China, by one week to March 15, 2005 for EB-3 India, and by two months to June 1, 2011 for EB-3 Philippines.

The EB-5 China cutoff date will advance by two weeks to March 22, 2014.

The DOS has confirmed that the EB-1 allotment should remain current in the coming months.

Read the December 2016 Visa Bulletin.