USCIS Sets December 2022 Adjustment of Status Filing Charts For the Visa Bulletin
Our Analysis: With the U.S. Department of State’s publication of the December 2022 Visa Bulletin, the USCIS has decided it will follow the Dates for Filing for Employment-Based Adjustment of Status Applications for the December 2022 Visa Bulletin. This is a continuation of the previous November 2022 as well as October 2022 visa bulletins. But it is a change from just a few months before that when USCIS had been following the Final Action Dates chart starting in June 2022 until September 2022.
USCIS also confirms that it will continue to follow the Dates for Filing for Family-Sponsored Adjustment of Status Applications for the December 2022 Visa Bulletin as family-based immigrant visa usage continues to grow as U.S. consulates move toward normal operations.
Of interest here is that in Department of State’s visa bulletin notes, it has provided advanced notices regarding several visa preference categories. Of note:
- Due to increased demand and rapid forward movements in the Employment First Category, it is very likely that Department of State will have to establish Final Action Dates and Application Filing Dates for both India and China in the coming months. The situation is fluid and it needs to be closely monitored.
- As expected, due to increased demand, the Department of State has to establish worldwide Employment Second Preference Final Action and application Filing Dates starting in December 2022 (Aside from China and India, all countries are subject to final action date of November 1, 2022and application filing date of December 1, 2022). This situation will be continuously monitored and updated as well.
- Due to increased demand, it has become necessary to retrogress the final Action Date and Application Filing Date for Employment-based 2nd Visa Preference Category for India. This situation will also be continuously monitored and updated too.
- Due to increased demand in the Employment-based 4th Category, it also has become necessary to establish a Worldwide Final Action Date and application Filing Date for December 2022. With exception of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, all countries are subject to final action date of June 22, 2022, and the application filing date of July 22, 2022. This situation has to be continuously monitored and adjusted and updated as well.
- Due to higher than expected demand in the Employment-based 4th category for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, there may be need for corrective action to hold numbers use within maximum allowed under Fiscal Year 2023. This situation has to be monitored and adjusted and updated in the coming months.
- Scheduled expiration of Employment-based 4th Category Certain Religious Workers (SR) category is set to occur on December 16, 2022, unless U.S. Congress extends this category beyond this date. If U.S.Congress does not extend this category, then this category will become 'unavailable' starting on December 16, 2022. This situation has to be monitored closely and is subject to adjustment.
In light of above notification, for India EB-2 the visa cutoff date retrogresses to October 8, 2011. Meanwhile, India EB-3 visa cutoff date moves ahead to June 15, 2012 in the Final Action Dates table for December 2022.
Meanwhile, the Department of State has continued to maintain the Final Action Date chart for family-sponsored preference cases to show that all countries are ‘Current’ in the F2A category (which is for spouses and children of lawful permanent resident) in the December 2022 Visa Bulletin.
Back on the employment-based visa category aspect, in the Final Action dates chart, the employment-based 3rd visa preference category for India and China for the month of December 2022 visa bulletin improved slightly. For EB-3 China, the visa cutoff date moved to August 1, 2018. For EB-3 India, the visa cutoff date moved to June 15, 2012.
In the Final Action dates chart, in the EB-2 China visa category, the cutoff date has remained at June 8, 2019 in the December 2022 visa bulletin.
Separately, in the Dates for Filing chart, for EB-2 China, the cutoff date continues to be at July 8, 2019, while EB-2 India’s cutoff date also remains at May 1, 2012.
As a further reminder, these slower visa movements in the EB-3 category are expected to continue to last for the foreseeable future, and it is the result of previous months in Fiscal Year 2022 of rapid advance movement in the EB-3 visa preference category for two (2) countries - China and India. There was heavy demand for EB-3 visa numbers in FY 2021 and then also in FY 2022. As a result, it greatly outstripped the monthly quota numbers, and it has resulted in retrogression for both India and China starting in the November 2021 visa bulletin and it has continued to remain in slow progression to the present and it is projected to last for the foreseeable future as well.
It should be noted that the December 2022 EB-1 visa preference category continues to remain Current for both China and India, along with all other countries in both Final Action Dates chart and the Dates for Filing chart.
These visa number movements are consistent with the projections that the Department of State had first provided back in October 2021 in which it forecasted that EB-2 visa filing dates would progressively move ahead in months at the onset, but will start to slow down as the months progress in the previous fiscal year 2022 and has finally retrogressed at the start of the FY 2023 visa bulletin. Meanwhile, the EB-3 visa filing dates would continue to demonstrate slow and steady movement for the upcoming fiscal year starting in October 2022.
It goes without saying that these particular visa categories warrant continuous monitoring in the coming months and into the fiscal year 2023 too.
As mentioned above, for the month of December 2022, the Final Action dates chart, the Employment-Based Fourth Preference Certain Religious Worker (SR) category for all countries now show various stages of retrogression due to unusually high demand for these visas. The Department of State also reminds readers that unless there is U.S. Congressional action taken to extend this SR visa category, no SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after midnight December 15, 2022. Visas issued prior to that date will be valid only until December 15, 2022, and all individuals seeking admission in the non-minister special immigrant category must be admitted into the U.S. no later than midnight December 15, 2022.
Finally, on the EB-5 immigrant investor visa category, a reminder once again to readers that the Department of State’s visa bulletin for EB-5 preference category has also been updated to reflect the new provisions of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA). It now has two (2) pools of visa numbers within the EB-5 category. One is reserved for certain set-aside categories while the remaining available numbers remain ‘unreserved’.
In the Final Action Dates chart, the employment-based 5th preference category Unreserved is ‘Current’ for all countries, except for China-mainland born, which is subject to a final action date of March 22, 2015 in the EB5 Unreserved category. It had visa cutoff date of March 22, 2015 in the November 2022 visa bulletin too.
Furthermore, EB-5 Unreserved category for Indian nationals in the Final Action dates chart remains subject to cutoff date of November 8, 2019. It had cutoff date of November 8, 2019 in the November 2022 visa bulletin as well.
Meanwhile, in final action dates chart for EB5 Set Asides (which covers Rural, and High Unemployment, and Infrastructure areas) for Chinese born applicants as well as applicants from around the world still remain ‘Current’.
As the visa bulletin filing dates continue to move ahead in Fiscal Year 2023, we also encourage readers to continue to check back with our site for any updates regarding this and any other latest immigration news and developments.
Department of State also included reminder notes again about the Diversity Immigrant Visa category. It confirms that entrants registered for the DV-2023 program did undergo random selection and those who were picked in the lottery would now be able to login to DV-2023 diversity designated website and begin preparations to submit immigrant visa applications by following procedures to do so. It should be noted that all eligible DV-2023 visa applicants must receive their immigrant visas (or adjust status, if they are present in the United States) by September 30, 2023. If they do not receive their immigrant visas (or adjust their status in the U.S.) by September 30, 2023, then they would lose their chance to do so, and they will have to pursue lottery registration next year again.
As the monthly visa bulletin continues to show inconsistent and roving movements, we do encourage you to check in this space regularly for any further updates.
Should you wish to discuss your case matter specifically, we encourage you to contact our office and schedule an appointment so we can assist you further.