USCIS November 2018 Visa Bulletin

October 16, 2018

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently released its November 2018 Visa Bulletin. Read below for more details:

Dates for Filing Family-Based Adjustment of Status Applications

Dates for Filing for Employment-Based Adjustment of Status Applications

USCIS November 2018 Visa Bulletin Overview

There were no changes in wait times for family-sponsored green card applications between the October and November bulletins. Additionally, there weren’t any changes looking at employment-based application wait times during the same time span.

Learn more about visa wait times, including who’s waiting and for how long in our recent blog post.

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 October 2018, in a departure from the prior practice of USCIS mandating the use of the Final Action Dates charts for employment-based applicants, the USCIS allowed individuals to use the Dates for Filing Applications chart rather than the Final Action Dates chart. This continues to be true for the November 2018 Visa Bulletin. 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.

It is possible that with future Visa Bulletins, the USCIS will return to their practice of requiring that only the Final Action Dates chart can be used by foreign nationals to file I-485 adjustment of status applications.

For the official November 2018 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.

Questions about filing green card applications? Read our guide, Introduction to Employment-Based Green Cards, to learn more.

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