Employment-Based Preference Categories
EB-1 China, EB-1 India, and EB-2 and EB-3 Worldwide. As previously reported, all of these categories are expected to remain current for the foreseeable future.
EB-2 India. Consistent with DOS’s predictions, EB-2 India will advance by less than one month for November to October 8, 2008.
EB-3 India. The final action date for EB-3 India will hold steady at October 15, 2006, for November, and DOS is confident that this date will continue to hold in December.
EB-2 China and EB-3 China. Demand in these two categories is creeping along as expected. DOS is interested in watching how the new USCIS interview requirement will impact demand in these categories and the downgrade phenomenon that has occurred for the past few years. In November, EB-2 China advances by less than one month to June 15, 2013, and EB-3 China advances by one month to February 1, 2014.
EB-3 Philippines. The final action date for EB-3 Philippines advances one and a half months to April 1, 2016, in November, consistent with DOS’s predictions.
EB-5 China. The final action date for EB-5 China advances approximately one week to July 1, 2014, in November, consistent with DOS’s projections.
EB-4. All EB-4 subcategories will remain the same in November with the exception of EB-4 Mexico, which will advance one month to April 1, 2016. Compared to the beginning of the last fiscal year, where Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras were almost at their annual limits, the demand is starting out more slowly in these categories this year. DOS expects to continue to advance EB-4 Mexico slowly, but he cautions members to not be surprised if the final action date for EB-4 Mexico rejoins that of EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras later this fiscal year.
DOS noted that in FY2017, Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) applicants used over 50% of the annual limit for the EB-4 category, or more than 5,100 visa numbers. Of this number, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras used over 1,100 visa numbers each.
Family-Based Categories. Movement in the family-based categories for November is consistent with DOS’s predictions, with the final action dates of most categories either remaining the same or advancing modestly by about one month. FB-1 and FB-2B Philippines demand is starting to materialize. In particular, members should expect a correction to FB-1 in the December Visa Bulletin. Demand in FB-4 India is lower than expected, which might allow DOS to advance the final action date in this category more quickly than previously anticipated.
QUESTION #1: When does USCIS request and allocate a visa number to an individual case?
ANSWER #1: Per the agreed upon policy, USCIS will only request an immigrant visa number once all required processing is 100% complete, including conducting any required interview, receipt of a complete medical exam, all required clearances, etc.
QUESTION #2: Could you please confirm that a visa number that gets allocated to each applicant who has successfully passed the interview should be preserved for that applicant unless the applicant becomes ineligible for permanent residence?
ANSWER #2: With regard to USCIS, though this is relatively rare, there are occasions in which USCIS requests a number, but before the adjustment of status application is fully processed, subsequent derogatory information comes to the officer’s attention which impacts eligibility.
As another example, USCIS recently sent RFEs out on numerous EB-3 India cases which had been pre-adjudicated in anticipation that the final action date for this category would advance during August and September. Visa numbers were provided for those cases with the expectation that the applicants would respond to the RFEs in time to be approved before the end of the fiscal year. Unfortunately, hundreds of individuals did not respond in a timely manner, and USCIS determined