The January 2017 Visa Bulletin was issued earlier this week by the U.S. Department of State and can be seen here. To get the full scoop, we went back to our friends at Green and Spiegel for the full breakdown… read on for more information from the experts.
Currently, the 3rd preference (EB-3) category for skilled or professional workers, which includes Schedule A nurses, is backlogged. Because of this backlog, only individuals with a “priority date” earlier than the date listed on the Visa Bulletin are permitted to immigrate to or adjust status in the United States. For employment-based cases, the priority date is the date on which USCIS received an individual’s I-140 Petition.
- FINAL ACTION DATES FOR EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CASES – These dates indicate wait times for immigrant visas by category. The “C” means visas are immediately available for issuance by the consulate. The listing of a date for any category indicates that the category is backlogged, and only individuals with a priority date (i.e., I-140 filing date) earlier than the date listed on the Visa Bulletin may be issued visas.
Example: Pursuant to the January 2017 Bulletin, Schedule A (3rd preference/EB-3) Filipino nurses whose I-140s were filed before July 22, 2011 are currently eligible to apply for immigrant visas at a consulate abroad.
- DATES FOR FILING OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA APPLICATIONS – These dates indicate when individuals who are in the U.S. and seeking to file applications for adjustment of status (Form I-485) can submit such applications to USCIS.
Example (current priority date): On January 1, 2017, a Schedule A (3rd preference/EB-3) nurse from the Philippines with an I-140 filing date of August 31, 2013 will become “current” and thus eligible to file their Form I-485 adjustment of status application with USCIS.
Example (non-current priority date): Pursuant to the January 2016 Visa Bulletin, a Schedule A (3rd preference/EB-3) nurse from the Philippines with an I-140 filing date of September 1, 2016 has an estimated wait time of three years before they can file their Form I-485 adjustment of status application with USCIS.*
*It is important to note that the Visa Bulletin is updated every month and visa wait times are subject to change. The Visa Bulletin is updated around the 15th of each month by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and can be found on DOS’s website (https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin.html).