No change in Dates for Filing chart again; minimal advancement in Final Action Dates chart.

The US Department of State (DOS) has released its January 2017 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 January 2017 Visa Bulletin Say?

The January 2017 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 January 2017 filings. To be eligible to file an employment-based (EB) adjustment application in January 2017, 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 three 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

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

C

15OCT12 (was 22SEP12)

C

15APR08 (was 01FEB08)

C

C

3rd

01AUG16 (was 01JUL16)

08SEP13 (was 01JUL13)

01AUG16 (was 01JUL16)

15MAR05

01AUG16 (was 01JUL16)

22JUL11

(was 01JUN11)

Other Workers

01AUG16 (was 01JUL16)

01DEC05 (was 01NOV05)

01AUG16 (was 01JUL16)

15MAR05

01AUG16 (was 01JUL16)

22JUL11 (was 01JUN11)

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

01MAR13

22APR09

C

C

3rd

C

01MAY14

01JUL05

C

01SEP13

Other Workers

C

01AUG09

01JUL05

C

01SEP13

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 two and a half months for EB-2 India and by only three weeks for EB-2 China.

The EB-3 cutoff dates for the worldwide allotment as well as El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico will advance by one month to August 1, 2016. Cutoff dates will advance by nine weeks to September 8, 2013 for EB-3 China and by one month to December 2, 2005 for EB-3 “Other Workers.” The cutoff date for EB-3 India remains at March 15, 2005. The cutoff date for EB-3 Philippines will advance by seven weeks to July 22, 2011.

The EB-5 China cutoff date will advance by two weeks to April 8, 2014.

As confirmed by the DOS, the EB-1 allotment should remain current in the coming months.