The National Law Forum

The Blog of the The National Law Review

Department of State Releases March 2016 Visa Bulletin

Employment-based second- and third-preference China categories show significant advancement.

The US Department of State (DOS) has released its March 2016 Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletin sets out per-country priority date cutoffs that regulate immigrant visa availability and the flow of adjustment of status and consular immigrant visa application filings and approvals.

What Does the March 2016 Visa Bulletin Say?

The March 2016 Visa Bulletin includes both a Dates for Filing Visa Applications and Application Final Action Dates chart. The former indicates when intending immigrants may file their applications for adjustment of status or immigrant visa, and the latter indicates when an adjustment of status application or immigrant visa application may be approved and permanent residence granted.

If the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines that there are more immigrant visas available for a fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, it will state on its website that applicants may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart. Otherwise, applicants should use the Application Final Action Dates chart to determine when they may file their adjustment of status applications. For March 2016, it is not yet clear whether employment-based (EB) applicants may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart or the Application Final Action Dates chart. USCIS will announce its decision within the next week.

Application Final Action Dates

To be eligible to file an EB adjustment application in March 2016, foreign nationals must have a priority date that is earlier than the date listed below for their preference category and country (changes from last month’s Visa Bulletin dates are shown in yellow):

EB All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
China
(mainland born)
India Mexico Philippines
1st C C C C C
2nd C 01AUG12—
(was 01MAR 12)
15OCT08
(was 01AUG08)
C C
3rd 01JAN16
(was 01OCT15)
01JUN13

(was 01OCT12)

15JUL04
(was 15JUN04)
01JAN16
(was 01OCT15)
15MAR08
(was 08JAN08)
Other Workers 01JAN16
(was 01OCT15)
01FEB07
(was 22DEC06)
15JUL04
(was 15JUN04)
01JAN16
(was 01OCT15)
15MAR08
(was 08JAN08)
4th C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
5th
Nonregional
Center
(C5 and T5)
C 22JAN14
(was 05JAN14)
C C C
5th
Regional
Center
(I5 and R5)
C 22JAN14
(was 15JAN14)
C C C

Filing Dates

The chart below reflects dates for filing visa applications within a timeframe that justifies immediate action in the application process. Visit www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo for information on whether USCIS has determined that this chart can be used in March for filing applications for adjustment of status.

EB All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
China
(mainland born)
India Mexico Philippines
1st C C C C C
2nd C 01JUN13
(was01Jan13)
01JUL09 C C
3rd C (was
01JAN16)
01MAY15
(was 01OCT13)
01JUL05 C (was
01JAN16)
01JAN10
Other Workers C (was
01JAN16)
01AUG07
(was 01JAN07)
01JUL05 C (was
01JAN16)
01JAN10
4th C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
5th
Nonregional
Center
(C5 and T5)
C 01MAY15 C C C
5th
Regional
Center
(I5 and R5)
C 01MAY15 C C C

How This Affects You

The largest changes in the Application Final Action Dates chart are in the EB-3 China category, which has advanced by eight months to June 1, 2013, and in the EB-2 China category, which has advanced by five months to August 1, 2012. The EB-2 India category advanced by three and a half months to October 15, 2008. The EB-3 category for the worldwide preference and Mexico categories advanced to January 1, 2016. The largest changes in the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart are in the EB-2 and EB-3 China categories, which advanced by six months each. Other classification categories saw only minimal advancement of one week to one month. Read the full March 2016 Visa Bulletin.

Copyright © 2016 by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. All Rights Reserved.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: