January 2019 Visa Bulletin

January 10, 2019

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released its January 2019 Visa Bulletin. Read below for more details.

Dates for Filing for Family-Sponsored Adjustment of Status Applications

Dates for Filing for Employment-Based Adjustment of Status Applications

USCIS January 2019 Visa Bulletin Overview

There was some slight movement in the Dates for Filing for Family-Sponsored Adjustment of Status Applications category. The F4 category’s date moved up to May 15, 2006. Chinese foreign nationals also applying for the F4 saw their dates move up, as did Mexico citizens applying for the F1, F2B, F3 and F4.

Additionally, USCIS also updated some of the Dates for Filing for Employment-Based Adjustment of Status Applications. Chinese mainland-born foreign nationals saw their date move up to Jan. 2016. Indian foreign nationals, 3rd and Other Workers, saw their dates move up to April 1, 2010. All other dates remain current.

What do the Letters Mean in the Visa Bulletin?

A “C” indicates that a category is current, meaning that applicants with any priority date can apply for adjustment of status. Current status is subject to change, however, and any changes are reflected on a month-to-month basis with each Visa Bulletin update.

Visa Bulletin Charts

The Visa Bulletin has two different charts that can determine when someone can file an I-485 adjustment of status application to receive their green card. DOS will post two charts per visa preference category in the DOS Visa Bulletin. The charts are:

  • Application Final Action Dates (dates for when green cards/immigrant visas may be issued); and
  • Dates for Filing Applications (earliest dates when applicants may be able to apply for green cards/immigrant visas)

When USCIS determines there are immigrant visas available for the filing of additional adjustment of status applications, the Dates for Filing Applications chart may be used to determine when to file an adjustment of status application with USCIS. Otherwise, the Application Final Action Dates chart has generally been mandated as the chart by which foreign nationals can determine when to file an adjustment of status application with USCIS.

In January 2019, USCIS is allowing use of the Dates for Filing Applications chart. Allowing use of the Dates for Filing Applications chart will reduce the retrogression of the EB-1 category for all foreign nationals, and for individuals born in mainland China, India and the Philippines. It will allow more applicants than usual to take advantage of shifts forward in the cutoff dates for the EB-2 and EB-3 preference categories.

While USCIS has allowed use of the Dates for Filing Applications chart since October 2018, It is possible that with future Visa Bulletins, USCIS will return to their practice of utilizing only the Application Final Action Dates chart for determining eligibility to file I-485 adjustment of status applications.

For the official January 2019 Visa Bulletin from USCIS, please navigate to uscis.gov.

Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with attorney Jaclyn Pettit at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (www.giafirm.com), Envoy’s affiliated law firm.

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