The Department of State (DOS) February 2019 Visa Bulletin shows considerably more movement in employment-based categories than in January. The EB-1 category will advance two months in all countries, with China and India advancing to Feb. 8, 2017, and all other countries moving forward to Dec. 1, 2017. The EB-2 category will remain current for all countries except China, advancing to Oct. 1, 2015, and India, advancing to April 6, 2009.

Although most countries will remain current on the EB-3 category, China will advance to July 1, 2015; India will advance to April 22, 2009; and the Philippines will advance to Aug. 1, 2017. Notably, India’s final action date in the EB-3 category has surpassed the EB-2 category, leaving EB-3 India with a more favorable final action date than that of EB-2 India.

The EB-4 dates will remain current for most countries except for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, which will advance by one week to March 1, 2016, and Mexico, which will advance to Sept. 1, 2017. In the EB-5 non-regional center categories, the date for Vietnam will advance to June 15, 2016, but the date for China will remain the same, which is set at Sept. 1, 2014. Dates will remain current for all other countries in the EB-5 non-regional center categories.

The EB-4 religious workers and regional center EB-5 categories will remain listed as unavailable as the laws authorizing those categories expired after midnight Dec. 20, 2018, and Dec. 21, 2018, respectively. Accordingly, no EB-4 religious worker visas may be issued, or a final action taken on an adjustment of status application, after midnight Dec. 20, 2018. Further, individuals seeking admission in this category must have been admitted into the United States no later than midnight Dec. 20, 2018.

If Congress reauthorizes these categories as is expected, the cutoff dates in February for certain religious workers would immediately become “Current” for February for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, which would be subject to a March 1, 2016 final action date, and for Mexico, which would be subject to a Sept. 1, 2017 final action date. Similarly, upon an extension of the program, the cutoff date for EB5 regional center cases would immediately become “Current” for February for all countries except China-mainland born, which would be subject to a Sept. 1, 2014, final action date and Vietnam, which would be subject to a June 15, 2016, final action date. GT will be closely monitoring these advancements as they unfold.

For those seeking to adjust status, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) website indicates that the department’s Final Action Dates chart must be used for filing Form I-485.

Referring to the Final Action Dates, following are updates for the February Visa Bulletin:

Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases

Dates for Filing of Employment-Based Visa Applications

The February 2019 Visa Bulletin includes projections for visa availability in the coming months, through May 2019. The projections provided for the employment-based categories are as follows:

EB-1:

Worldwide (most countries):  Up to two months.
China and India:  Up to one month.

EB-2:

Worldwide:     Current for the foreseeable future
China:             Up to three months
India:               Up to one week  

EB-3:

Worldwide:     Current
China:             Up to three weeks
India:               Up to three months
Mexico:           Current
Philippines:     Rapid movement to generate demand

EB-4:   Current for most countries

El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras:    Up to one week
Mexico:    Rapid forward movement until limit is reached

EB-5:   The category will remain “Current” for most countries

China-mainland born:  Up to one week
Vietnam:  Up to three weeks

For more information on Visa Bulletin Updates, click here.