The EB-2 Worldwide category and the EB-1 China and India categories have retrogressed.

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

The August 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 the 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.

Application Final Action Dates

We anticipate that USCIS will continue to use the Application Final Action Dates chart for August. To be eligible to file an employment-based (EB) adjustment application in August 2016, foreign nationals must have a priority date that is earlier than the cutoff date listed below for their preference category and country (changes from last month’s Visa Bulletin dates are shown in yellow):


EB

All Charge
ability
Areas Except
Those Listed

China
(mainland
born)

El Salvador,
Guatemala,
and Honduras

India

Mexico

Philippines

1st

C

01JAN10
(was C)

C

01JAN10
(was C)

C

C

2nd

01FEB14
(was C)

01JAN10

01FEB14
(was C)

15NOV04
(was 01NOV04)

01FEB14
(was C)

01FEB14
(was C)

3rd

15MAR16 (was 01MAR16)

01JAN10

15MAR16 (was 01MAR16)

08NOV04
(was 22OCT04)

15MAR16 (was 01MAR16)

15MAY09 (was 15FEB09)

Other Workers

15MAR16 (was 01MAR16)

01JAN04

15MAR16 (was 101MAR16)

08NOV04
(was 22OCT04)

15MAR16 (was 01MAR16)

15MAY09 (was 15FEB09)

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

01JUN13

01JUL09

C

C

3rd

C

01MAY15

01JUL05

C

01JAN13
(was 01JAN10)

Other Workers

C

01AUG09

01JUL05)

C

01JAN13
(was 01JAN10)

How This Affects You

As predicted in our July Immigration Alert, the DOS has established cutoff dates for the EB-1 category for those born in China and India for the first time in several years. The new cutoff dates have retrogressed by six and a half years to January 1, 2010. The DOS confirmed that continuing high demand for visa numbers in the EB-1 China and India and the EB-2 preference categories has required it to establish restrictive cutoff dates for August and September. The dates for these countries are likely once again to become current in the new fiscal year (starting in October 2016), which means that applications for adjustment of status may once again be filed regardless of an applicant’s priority date.

The cutoff dates for EB-2 Worldwide, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the Philippines will retrogress by two and a half years to February 1, 2014. This means that those in the EB-2 classification from these regions must have a priority date before February 1, 2014 to file their adjustment of status applications. Cutoff dates for EB-2 China remain at January 1, 2010. EB-2 India cutoff dates advanced by two weeks to November 15, 2004.

Because the cutoff dates for the Worldwide visa allotment in EB-3 will be more than two years earlier than the cutoff date in the Worldwide visa allotment for EB-2, those who are eligible for the EB-2 classification might consider filing their immigrant petitions under the EB-3 classification, which may be more advantageous.

Additionally, the cutoff date for EB-3 China remained at January 1, 2010. Most other categories saw a relatively minor advancement. Cutoff dates for EB-3 in all other geographic categories advanced by two to three weeks.

Read the entire August 2016 Visa Bulletin.