The Department of State released the February 2016 Visa Bulletin today. D&S provides a Monthly Summary of the family and employment-based priority dates. This month, there was no forward movement in any employment-based or family-based Filing Dates. For the employment-based preference category Final Action Dates, there was forward movement for EB-2 India, which advanced 5 months from February 1, 2008 to August 1, 2008. EB-2 China advanced one month from February 1, 2012 to March 1, 2012. EB-3 Worldwide and Mexico remained unchanged and EB-3 China, India, and the Philippines all saw forward movement of between 1 and 3 months. EB-5 China Final Action Dates advanced by just 7 days from January 8, 2014 to January 15, 2014. As of today, January 8, 2016, USCIS has not advised whether in February 2016, it will accept adjustment of status applications for family or employment-based petitions based on filing dates, rather than final action dates. USCIS anticipates that this information will be released within one week of the monthly Visa Bulletin.
The Department of State released the October 2015 Visa Bulletin yesterday evening in conjunction with a joint announcement with USCIS implementing revised procedures for determining immigrant visa availability. D&S provides a monthly Summary of the family and employment based priority dates. For October, employment based priority dates (the “Final Action” dates) for EB-2 and EB-3 India experienced a slight retrogression with EB-2 india moving back 8 months from January 1, 2006 to May 1, 2005. However, under the new system nationals of India in the EB-2 preference category with priority dates on or before June 1, 2011, will be eligible to file the adjustment of status applications starting in October, roughly 6 years earlier than they could have filed under the prior system. For EB-3 India, which retrogressed just over 5 months to March 8, 2004, the difference between the “Application Filing” date and “Final Action” date is less significant, allowing EB-3 Indian nationals to file their permanent residence applications approximately 1 year and 4 months earlier that under the prior system.
There was significant forward movement in priority dates (“Final Action” dates) for EB-2 China, which progressed 6 years from January 1, 2006, to January 1, 2012. Additionally, under the new system, EB-2 Chinese nationals with priority dates on or before May 1, 2014, are able to file their permanent residence applications starting in October, over 2 years earlier than under the previous system. There was also significant forward movement in EB-3 China of almost 7 years with priority dates (“Final Action” dates) moving forward from December 22, 2004 to October 15, 2011. Additionally, starting in October, EB-3 Chinese nationals with priority dates on or before October 1, 2013 will be able to file their permanent resident applications, almost 2 years earlier than under the earlier system.
UPDATE: On September 25, 2015 USCIS and DOS issued a revised visa bulletin which supersedes the bulletin issued on September 9, 2015. For more details on the official announcement please read our D&S summary.