Employment-Based Visa Availability Update

We have had several recent inquiries regarding visa availability for the EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, and Third "Other Workers" (EW) preference categories in the coming months.

EB-1 Preference Category

The September 2018 Visa Bulletin indicates in Section H. Visa Availability in the Coming Months that for EB-1 Worldwide, "October Final Action Dates will be imposed for all countries. Limited, if any forward movement can be expected prior to December."

According to this month's Check-in with DOS's Charlie Oppenheim: August 10, 2018, despite a one-month advancement in the September 2018 Visa Bulletin EB-1 Worldwide heavy demand will prevent the category from returning to current in October 2018. Also, EB-1 China and EB-1 India will continue to have Final Action Dates in October 2018, which are earlier than those established for EB-1 Worldwide. It is unlikely that any of the EB-1 categories will have much forward movement before December or possibly into Q2 of FY2019.

EB-2, EB-3, and Other Workers Preference Categories

The September 2018 Visa Bulletin in Section G states oversubscription of September Employment-Based Second and Third Preference Categories, indicates:

WORLDWIDE, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, MEXICO, AND PHILIPPINES EMPLOYMENT-BASED SECOND (E2), Third (E3), and Third Other Worker (EW) PREFERENCES: As readers were advised in item F of the July Visa Bulletin, there has been an extremely high rate of demand for Employment numbers, primarily for USCIS adjustment of status applicants as a result of the successful implementation of their new interview process. Therefore, pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Department of State has imposed E2, E3, and EW Final Action Dates for the month of September with these dates being imposed immediately for new requests for visa numbers. This action will allow the Department to hold worldwide number use within the maximum allowed under the FY-2018 annual limits.

In October, the first month of fiscal year 2019, the final action dates will be returned to those established for August.

Although the "Final Action Dates" set forth in the September 2018 Visa Bulletin take immediate effect USCIS is continuing to accept I-485 applications for employment-based visa applicants with priority dates that are current according to the August 2018 Visa Bulletin "Final Action Dates," though USCIS is not completing the adjudication of the application to issue a green card unless an immigrant visa number is available from the Department of State under the cutoff date indicated in the September Visa Bulletin.

USCIS Service Center Operations Directorate (SCOPS) has confirmed that USCIS Service Centers and Lockbox facilities will continue to accept I-485 applications throughout the month of August if the applicant's priority date is prior to the date listed in the Final Action Chart of the August Visa Bulletin.