August 2016 Visa Bulletin Updates: Cut-Off Dates Imposed on EB-1 India and China and EB-4 India Preference Categories.

By: Michael Phulwani, Esq., David H. Nachman, Esq. and Rabindra K. Singh, Esq.

The Department of State (DOS) recently released the Visa Bulletin for August 2016. As was projected by the DOS earlier, the August Visa Bulletin has imposed a cut-off date of January 1, 2010, for the EB-1 preference category for both India and China. Additionally, the Visa Bulletin has imposed a cut-off date of January 1, 2010, for the EB-4 preference category for India.

With regard to the imposition of the EB-1 cut-off dates for India and China, the DOS had advised in the July Visa Bulletin that it would be necessary to impose a date for these two countries no later than September. The continued high level of demand for EB-1 visa numbers for USCIS adjustment of status applicants has required the establishment of a cut-off date for August 2016. This has been done in an attempt to hold number use within the Worldwide EB-1 annual limit. As projected by the DOS, The EB-1 date for these two countries will once again become Current starting October, the first month of fiscal year 2017.

Like the EB-1 cut-off date projections for India and China, the readers were advised in the May Visa Bulletin number that there has been extremely high demand in the EB-4 and Certain Religious Workers (SR) categories, primarily for Juvenile Court Dependent cases filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for adjustment of status. Pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act, this has now required the implementation of EB-4 and SR Application Final Action Dates for India, which has reached its per-country limit. This action will allow the DOS to hold worldwide number use within the maximum allowed under the FY-2016 annual limits.

What this action means to EB-4 applicants from India? Petitioners from any country, including India, may continue to file Form I-360. There is no annual limit on the number of Form I 360 petitions that USCIS may approve. Because the final action date of January 1, 2010, will become effective August 1, 2016, USCIS will accept all properly submitted submissions of Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, under the EB-4 classification until July 31, 2016, and will continue to adjudicate applications while visas remain available. If someone submits Form I-485 under the EB-4 classification on or after August 1, 2016, USCIS will process and make a decision on Form I-485 only if the Form I-360 petition was filed before January 1, 2010, and ultimately approved. USCIS will reject and return other Form I-485 applications but will continue to process Form I-360 petitions (even if submitted together with a Form I-485 that gets rejected). Similar processing logic will prevail in the EB-1 submissions for India and China until the Priority Date becomes current again in October 2016.

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