June is right around the corner, and as such the Department of State (DOS) has now issued the June Visa Bulletin. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), via an intricate calibration system, determines the availability of United States visas. The per-country and per-category visa limitations fluctuate monthly in accordance with INA calculations.
Because the immigration climate under the current administration is subject to many changes, the monthly visa bulletin, which provides a snapshot of visa availability, has taken on increased importance.
Important Visa Bulletin Dates
Every case for a visa hopeful has critical attendant dates that determine whether the petitioner will obtain a visa and if so, when. The timeline related to obtaining a U.S. work visa continually evolves, and the Visa Bulletins showcase this evolution. An immigration case’s initial eligibility is determined by its priority date, which reflects its filing date with either the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the Department of Labor (DOL).
This priority date serves as a case’s placeholder in the work-visa queue. To remain current, a visa petition must have a priority date that falls before the final action date listed in the current month’s Visa Bulletin. Each month’s forthcoming Visa Bulletin provides visa hopefuls with critical information related to their visa bids.
Marked as Current
The route to obtaining a work visa is directly related to being in a visa category that’s marked as current in the monthly bulletin. If a category is marked with a C for current, it means there are enough visas available within that specific category (and from that specific country of chargeability, or country of origin) for each approved petitioner.
To break it down more precisely, this means that when a qualified visa hopeful finds a C in the Visa Bulletin for their visa category and country of origin, that petitioner qualifies to be issued that category of visa. If the petitioner instead finds a date listed in the Visa Bulletin, it means their priority date must precede that posted final action date to qualify for visa issuance.
Employment Visas: Holding Steady
Once again, any country that’s outside the six areas specifically listed in the Visa Bulletin remains current. For the second month in a row, Vietnam made the list, but its relevant visa categories are all current. Continuing a somewhat reassuring trend, June sees only one minor change.
June's Critical Visa Dates
Let’s take a closer look at June’s employment-based (EB) final action dates:
China (Mainland Born)
China sees no changes in June. For the third month running, its EB-1 date holds at January 1, 2012; For a second month, its EB-2 date remains at September 1, 2014; its EB-3 is still at June 1, 2015; its Other Workers category retains last month’s gain and holds at May 1, 2007, and its EB-4 remains current.
Mexico and El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras
Like China, these countries see no changes in June. Mexico and El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras all remain current in every category except for the EB-4. The EB-4 for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras is holding at December 15, 2015, and the EB-4 for Mexico retains its October 22, 2016 date.
In June, India takes a baby step forward. While its EB-1 stays at January 1, 2012, its EB-2 moves ahead four days to December 26, 2008. Its EB-3 and Other Workers category each maintain last month’s bump of May 1, 2008. India’s EB-4 remains current.
The Philippines experience no changes in June. Every category remains current – except for the EB-3 and the Other Workers category, which are both holding at January 1, 2017.
While June saw very little movement, it’s important to stay tuned for future developments, as changes to immigration law remain likely.