The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has released the Visa Bulletin for October 2018, which has announced significant advancement in the availability of employment-based immigrant numbers for the month of October. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will be using the “Dates for Filing” chart for both family-based and employment-based categories, which is a departure from the more commonly used “Final Action Dates” for employment-based categories. This development will allow for several adjustment of status applicants to file their cases earlier than previously anticipated.
Each month, DOS releases its Visa Bulletin which summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers. Since October marks the beginning of the fiscal year, it is common for there to be significant advancement of immigrant number availability announced on the October Visa Bulletin. This year’s October Visa Bulletin marked major advancement in a number of categories, as described in detail below.
In addition, USCIS has the authority to decide whether it will use the “Final Action Dates” chart or the “Date for Filing” chart in determining when adjustment of status applicants may file their Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Typically, USCIS uses the “Final Action Dates” for employment-based categories. However, for October 2018, USCIS has announced that it will be using the “Dates for Filing” chart instead. This change allows for more applicants to be eligible to file their I-485 applications in the month of October than had previously been anticipated.
Specific to employment-based categories, the new dates on the “Dates for Filing” chart are as follows (please note that China refers to mainland born):
Individuals with an approved I-140 based on any of the above categories should review their priority date to determine whether they are eligible to apply for adjustment of status in the month of October. Those eligible for concurrent I-140 and I-485 filings should speak with counsel regarding the best strategy for their particular case.
For further details regarding this or any other immigration matter, please be sure to contact a member of our team at PwC Law LLP.