The State Department has released the March 2017 Visa Bulletin listing the priority dates eligible for “Application Final Action,” i.e. when an I-485 adjustment of status (AOS) application may be approved or an immigrant visa (IV) issued, and the priority dates eligible for “Filing Applications,” i.e. when an AOS or IV application may be filed.
There again will be small but consistent advances in the “Application Final Action Dates” in the family-based categories. Each of the family-based categories will advance between one week and four months, with the exception of the Philippines third-preference for married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (F3), which will not advance.
In the “Application Final Action Dates” for the employment-based categories, the EB-1 category remains current for all countries. There again will be minimal movement in the other categories with the exception of EB-3 India, which will remain at March 22, 2005.
The “Dates for Filing” for all family- and employment-based categories and all countries will not advance at all, as has been the case for the past several months.
As a reminder, the “Dates for Filing Applications” are valid only for consular processing immigrant visa applications. USCIS will make a separate determination whether to allow the filing of AOS applications under the “Dates for Filing” chart or the “Application Final Action Dates” chart in the visa bulletin. USCIS has not yet determined which chart may be used for adjustment of status filings in March 2017. The agency will post that information on its website.
Looking ahead, the State Department expects continued movement in the family-based categories. They also expect most of the employment-based categories to continue advancing, although the movement in EB-3 for India will be limited. The State Department also expects to impose a cutoff date for the EB-1 category for nationals of India and China by August 2017.
You can view the visa bulletin in its entirety below. Please contact us with any questions.
Last night, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled unanimously that the federal government may not enforce key sections of the “travel ban” Executive Order issued on January 27.
The Ninth Circuit decision leaves in place a restraining order issued by a federal district judge in Washington last Friday, halting enforcement of the most onerous parts of the order nationwide and at all U.S. ports of entry. Specifically, the federal government may not enforce the following sections:
As a result of the injunction, travel to the United States for nationals of the seven affected countries has returned to the norm that existed before the order was issued. The U.S. State Department has rescinded the provisional revocation of any temporary and permanent visas issued to affected individuals, and those visas may now be used for travel to the U.S. U.S. consulates also will continue to schedule visa appointments for all applicants, and airlines will not be prevented form boarding travelers with valid immigration documents.
It is important to note that the restraining order prevents enforcement of only the section of the executive order listed above. Other sections remain in force, including the suspension of the Visa Interview Waiver Program, although there are reports of some consulates allowing interview waiver appointments.
It is not clear at this time whether the White House will appeal the Ninth Circuit decision to the U.S. Supreme Court or whether the Court would hear the case. The White House could decide to rescind the original order and issue a new order tailored to avoid the legal challenges that led to the restraining order.
If you have any questions about this, please contact us.
On January 27, the White House issued an Executive Order immediately halting visa issuance and forbidding entry into the U.S. of all nationals of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Iran. The order also effectively ends the refugee admission program for Syrians and temporarily halts refugee admissions from other countries, while also reducing the number of refugee admissions to 50,000 in 2017.
Signed late Friday afternoon, the order has caused chaos at airports around the world as immigration inspectors have scrambled to implement the order while travelers with valid visas and green cards attempted to board flights or arrived in the U.S. Although the chaos of the first 72 hours is subsiding, many aspects of how the ban is being applied remain in flux.
Here is what we know about the travel ban and how it is being implemented:
Since Friday several Federal courts issued injunctions prohibiting CBP from detaining or deporting people who had been prevented from entering the U.S., and many additional lawsuits challenging the order are being prepared. However, there have been reports of CBP officials illegally ignoring the existing injunctions. Even in places where the injunction is being followed, this protection only applies to travelers who have made it to the U.S.
The order is being applied to prevent people with otherwise valid visas from boarding flights, and the Department of State has instructed consular posts worldwide not to schedule visa appointments for people from the affected countries. We also have heard numerous reports from colleagues around the country that some CBP offices and ports of entry are not following the official guidance, including detaining citizens of countries other than the named seven.
Our advice is that visa holders who were born in these countries who are currently in the U.S. should not leave the U.S. for any reason unless doing so would result in them overstaying their lawful period of admission. The frenzied process by which the White House seems to be implementing these policies makes it impossible to predict when or whether such visa holders will be permitted to return.
The order also suspends refugee admissions from Syria indefinitely and from all other countries for at least 120 days while the oft-discussed “extreme vetting” measures are developed and implemented.
Although the order states that the travel ban and refugee suspension is only temporary, it may be unlikely that the countries affected could or would ever comply with the conditions the order sets for having the ban lifted. It is likely that the legality of the order – and the fate of those affected – will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.
If you have any questions about this, please contact us.
News and Updates
Immigration law news and updates from the attorneys at Steel & Glassman