Note: The October Visa Bulletin was revised on Sept. 25 by the U.S. Department of State. As a result of this unforeseen change, some employment-based green card petitioners no longer have a “current” application filing date and can’t file Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) in October. Review the “Dates for Filing of Employment-Based Visa Applications” table to view the changes, displayed in bold.
The U.S. Department of State recently made major changes to the Visa Bulletin. Starting in October, there will be two different cutoff dates for each green card preference category, the date for filing applications and the application final action date.
Understanding the two-table system
The final action table reflects the priority dates United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is processing Form I-485. The date for filing applications table reflects when a person can file his or her I-485 case. For example, India’s EB-2 priority dates are July 1, 2011 and May 1, 2005. If you have a priority date of July 1, 2011 or earlier, you can submit your I-485 case. However, USCIS will not approve any I-485 unless you have a priority date of May 1, 2005 or earlier.
Final action date changes for family based green cards
- The F-1 final action category progressed two weeks to one month for most countries. However, Philippines petitioners’ date advanced seven months.
- Most other family based, final action categories progressed two weeks to one month.
- There was no advancement in the F-4 category for Philippines petitioners.
Family based green card categories:
- F-1: Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
- F-2A: Spouses and children of legal permanent residents (LPRs)
- F-2B: Unmarried adult children of LPRs
- F-3: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
- F-4: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens
Final action date changes for employment-based green cards
- China’s EB-2 green card category advanced six years, while the same country’s EB-3 category progressed seven years, and the other workers classification progressed two years.
- India’s EB-2 final action date regressed eight months.
- EB-5 applicants from each country, except China, have been made current, while China has a five-month backlog.
Employment-based green card categories:
- EB-1: Priority workers with extraordinary abilities, outstanding professors or researchers, and executives or managers who’ve transferred to the United States
- EB-2: Individuals with advanced degrees, exceptional abilities or those holding national interest waivers
- EB-3: Skilled workers, professionals and others who don’t qualify for EB-1 or EB-2
- EB-4: Religious workers, broadcasters, Iraq/Afghan translators, Iraqis who have assisted the United States, physicians, armed forces members, Panama Canal Zone employees, retired NATO-6 employees, spouses and children of deceased NATO-6 employees
- EB-5: Investors who are investing in a new commercial enterprise