Like clockwork, the United States Department of State (DOS) puts out a monthly Visa Bulletin, and April is no different. Visa availability fluctuates, and these bulletins highlight the direction that said availability is moving in today’s uncertain immigration climate.
Explaining Visa Bulletins
Every immigration case has its own critical dates that determine the petitioner’s ability to obtain a visa. These monthly Visa Bulletins highlight these dates as they evolve. The date on which a case is filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), or the Department of Labor (DOL), establishes its priority date, which dictates its initial eligibility.
A case’s priority date works to hold its place in the immigration queue. For a specific case to remain current, its priority must be scheduled before the final action date listed in the current Visa Bulletin. As such, these bulletins serve as important tools for visa applicants.
The monthly bulletins mark those visa categories that are current with a C, which translates to mean there are enough visa numbers within that specific category to accommodate every approved petitioner in that category and from that country of chargeability (country of origin). More simply, if a qualified visa candidate's category for their country of origin is posted with a C, that individual is authorized to be issued that specific type of visa. When a date is listed, instead of a C, petitioners are notified that their priority dates must come before the posted final action date to be authorized for visa issuance.
While April has a few surprises, it remains the seventh month in row in which every country not specifically listed is once again current in every category.
April has several notable exceptions:
China (Mainland Born)
- China is no longer current for the EB-1, which is now set at January 1, 2012
- The EB-2 advances by another 24 days to August 1, 2014
- The EB-3 shoots ahead 5 and a half months to June 1, 2015
- The Other Workers category gains a month at April 1, 2007
- The EB-4 remains current
Mexico and El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras
Mexico and El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are all, once again, current within all categories – with two minor exceptions.
- El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras inched ahead 14 days on the EB-4 to December 15, 2015
- Mexico’s EB-4 pushed ahead another 38 days to August 8, 2016
India sees some significant action in April.
- The EB-1 went from current to a final action date of January 1, 2012
- The EB-2 crawled forward 7 days to December 22, 2008
- The EB-3 and the Other Workers category both rocketed ahead 13 full months to February 1, 2008
- The EB-4 remained current
The Philippines has two good-sized bumps in April. While the other categories remained current, both the EB-3 and the other workers category cruised forward eight months to January 01, 2017.
April’s visa availability numbers saw some heftier advances than they’ve seen in several months. As the current immigration climate sparks further ambiguity, it’s important to continue to monitor the Visa Bulletins.
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Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult a Bridge-affiliated partner attorney or another qualified legal professional.