The State Department has released the December 2016 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.
As has been the case since the new fiscal year began in October, December 2016 will see across the board advances in the “Application Final Action Dates” in the family-based categories. Each of the family-based categories will advance at least a few weeks.
In the employment-based categories, there will be movement in the EB-2 category for nationals of China and India, which will advance two months and three months, respectively. There also will be advancements of one week to nearly three months in the EB-3 category for nationals of China, India, and the Philippines. However, the EB-3 category for all other countries will remain static for December, as will the religious worker category and the EB-5 investor category for nationals of China.
The “Dates for Filing” for all family- and employment-based categories and all countries will remain the same as the November 2016 visa bulletin.
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 and will post the applicable chart on its website. For November 2016, USCIS has determined that applicants must use the “Dates For Filing” charts for both family- and employment-based applications, but at the time of this post, no decision has been made for December.
The December Visa Bulletin also reminds that the non-minister special immigrant program and the Employment Fifth Preference Categories (I5 and R5) are set to expire on December 9, 2016, at which time visas in those categories will become unavailable unless Congress acts to extend them further.
Finally, the December visa bulletin includes some rough projections about future “Final Action Dates” given continuing high demand. Although expected to remain current in the coming months, the State Department expects the EB-1 category to retrogress for nationals of India and China at some point. Similarly, the department expects a retrogression of the EB-2 dates for all countries by July 2017. The EB-3 dates will be held in place for the foreseeable future, with the exception of EB-3 India, which the department expects to move one week, hold for several months, then move another week, then hold again.
You can view the visa bulletin in its entirety below. Please contact us with any questions.
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