On May 9, 2017, the United States Department of State (DOS) released the June 2017 Visa Bulletin [PDF version]. The June 2017 Visa Bulletin contains dates for filing and application final action dates for the family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant visa preference categories. On May 15, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determined that those seeking adjustment of status based upon an approved preference petition in the family-sponsored or employment-based preferences must rely on the application final action dates in June 2017.
In this article, we will reproduce the relevant charts for those waiting to adjust status in the family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories. We will also examine the DOS’s news and notes from the June 2017 Visa Bulletin. For an overview of using the visa bulletin as the beneficiary of an approved immigrant visa preference petition waiting to adjust status, please see our full article on the subject [see article]. Please also see our article explaining the differences between final action dates and filing dates [see article].
The USCIS determined that the beneficiaries of approved family-sponsored immigrant visa petitions must rely on the final action dates for June 2017 when seeking adjustment of status. June will be the third consecutive month that family-sponsored applicants have to use the final action dates. The beneficiary of an approved family-sponsored petition may file for adjustment of status in June 2017 if his or her priority date is earlier than the applicable final action date. The following are the final action dates for family-sponsored preference cases in June 2017 [see here].
The USCIS determined that beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions must rely on the final action dates for June 2017 when seeking adjustment of status. The beneficiary of an approved employment-based preference petition may file for adjustment of status in June 2017 if his or her priority date is earlier than the applicable final action cutoff date. Please note that a final action date of “C” means that the date is current. The beneficiary of an approved employment-based preference petition in a category and chargeability area with a current final action date will be eligible to file for adjustment of status in June 2017 regardless of his or her priority date. The following chart contains the final action dates for employment-based preference cases in June 2017 [see here].
NEWS AND NOTES FROM THE JUNE 2017 VISA BULLETIN
The DOS includes updates on visa trends and forecasts for future months with each edition of the Visa Bulletin. In this post, we will review the DOS’s news in the June 2017 Visa Bulletin.
OVERSUBSCRIPTION IN FOR E1 CHINA (MAINLAND BORN) AND INDIA CATEGORIES
As we reported, the DOS noted in the May 2017 Visa Bulletin that it would soon be necessary to impose a final action cutoff date for employment-based first preference China and India categories. The DOS established final action cutoff dates for both China and India categories in the June 2017 Visa Bulletin. It explained that this was done in order to hold the number use within the worldwide E1 limit. The dates for both categories will become current again for the October 2017 Visa Bulletin, which will be the first month of fiscal-year 2018.
EXTENSION OF TWO EMPLOYMENT VISA CATEGORIES
The Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR) and Employment Fifth Preference Pilot (I5 and R5) categories were slated to expire at the end of April 2017. We discussed the implications of the issue in the May 2017 Visa Bulletin. However, President Donald Trump signed the continuation of the categories into law in early May [see article]. These programs now have continued authorization through September 2017.
EMPLOYMENT-BASED FORECASTS FOR COMING MONTHS
The DOS explained that “[t]here has been an extremely large increase in Employment Third preference applicant demand during the past month” for Chinese applicants. The DOS attributed the increase to the “downgrading” of status of applicants who originally sought classification in the Employment Second preference category. Due to the increase in demand, the DOS held the Employment Third preference final action date in June 2017. The DOS explained that if the current level of demand persists, retrogression in the final action date will be required in either July or August.
The DOS stated that the high demand in the India Employment Fourth preference and Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers categories “is likely to result in the India E4 per-country limit being reached during June.” For this reason, the DOS stated that we “should expect the implementation of July E4 and SR Final Action Dates for India.
SPECIAL IMMIGRANT VISA AVAILABILITY
The spending bill signed by President Trump on May 5, 2017, authorized an additional 2,500 Special Immigrant Visas under the Afghan Allies Protection Act of 2009, as amended. Accordingly, the final action date for the SQ category for certain Afghan nationals employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government in Afghanistan will remain current. Interviews for this category will resume.
The final action date for the SQ category for certain Iraqi nationals employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq remains current. However, the application deadline for this category was September 30, 2014.
The fiscal year 2017 annual limit of 50 Special Immigrant Visas in the SI category was reached in December 2016. For this reason, the final action date in this category remains “Unavailable.” No further visa issuances in the SI category will be possible until October 2017, which is the first month for which the fiscal year 2018 limit will be in effect.
It is important for beneficiaries of approved preference petitions who intend to seek adjustment of status to follow the month-to-month progress of the Visa Bulletin. Those intending to apply for an immigrant visa through either the consular processing process or the adjustment of status process should consult with an experienced immigration attorney for guidance.
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