USCIS Sets July 2023 Adjustment of Status Filing Charts For the Visa Bulletin
Law IMM Analysis:
With the U.S. Department of State (“DOS”)’s publication of its July 2023 visa bulletin, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has decided that it will continue to use the Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Adjustment of Status Applications table. Meanwhile, USCIS also decided to continue to follow the Dates for Filing for Family-Sponsored Adjustment of Status Applications table. Please refer to the sections below for specific discussions about the visa availability date movements and trends under both the employment-based immigrant visa petitions, as well as the family-based immigrant visa petitions.
Employment-based Immigrant Visa Categories:
• Employment-based first preference category (EB-1):
- All countries remain current, with the exception of China in India.
- As previously predicted by DOS in its December 2022 visa bulletin, it has established Final Action Dates for both India and China starting in January 2023 for EB-1 visa preference category. This continues in the July 2023 visa bulletin as well.
- For the Final Action Dates table, India’s visa availability date for EB-1 category also remains on February 1, 2022, while China’s EB-1 visa availability date is also set for February 1, 2022.
- Meanwhile, the EB-1 visa preference category for World, and Mexico, and the Philippines all continue to remain ‘Current’ in the Final Action Dates table.
• Employment-based second preference category (EB-2):
- There is no change in the EB-2 visa category across all countries and regions in the July 2023 visa bulletin.
- EB-2 India’s visa availability date remains at January 1, 2011.
- EB-2 China’s visa availability date remains at June 8, 2019.
- Furthermore, DOS had to retrogress the EB-2 visa numbers for Rest of the World; and Mexico; and the Philippines to keep the visa usage within reasonable levels. In fact, their visa numbers are held once again at February 15, 2022.
DOS had previously noted that this situation needs to be continually monitored and adjustments will have to be made, if necessary.
- This reflects the continued tightening in the visa numbers usage in employment-based immigrant visas in general.
• Employment-based third preference category (EB-3):
- EB-3 India’s visa availability date has dramatically retrogressed to January 1, 2009. DOS’s reasoning here is that the visa number usage is very ‘robust’ for - EB-3 India and it is forecasting that the applicants chargeable to India will exhaust the use of all EB-3 visa numbers by the end of June. Therefore, retrogression is inevitable in order to keep the visa numbers on steady level, especially for India.
- EB-3 China’s visa availability date is still at April 1, 2019, with no movement.
- In the monthly notes that accompany the July 2023 visa bulletin, DOS notes that back in the May 2023 visa bulletin, it had already established EB-3 final action dates for Rest of the World, Mexico, and the Philippines to keep number usage within FY2023 annual limit.
Now, with continuing increase in demand of EB-3 visas from these countries and regions, it has become necessary to retrogress the EB-3 final actions for these regions and countries to February 1, 2022.
- DOS also mentioned that due to higher than expected visa number usage in the EB-3 “Other Worker” category, this will likely mean further adjustments in the “Rest of World”, “Mexico”, and “Philippines’s final action dates in the coming months in order to keep the immigrant visa numbers still available through September 30 2023. This situation needs to be continuously monitored by DOS.
-The Department of State further explains that they will continue to monitor the level of demand for EB-3 and make any necessary adjustments as needed.
• Employment-based fourth preference category (EB-4):
- There was no movement in this visa preference category and every country/region. The visa availability date remains at September 1, 2018.
- DOS’s earlier visa bulletins also raised the same warning about EB-4 preference category and how due to increased demand may necessitate the establishment of worldwide final action date (including Mexico and the Philippines) in the coming months to hold numbers within maximum allowed under the current Fiscal Year 2023 annual limit.
- Department of State advised readers to monitor this situation along with Department of State in the next few months should adjustments become necessary.
• Employment-based fifth preference category (EB-5):
- EB-5 visa availability date is September 1, 2018 for China, and also the same for India.
- For the other countries, and the rest of the world, the visa continues to be available for the nationals from those countries and regions.
- On the EB-5 immigrant investor visa category, a reminder once again to readers that DOS’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 September 8, 2015 in the EB-5 Unreserved category. It had visa cutoff date of July 8, 2015 starting in the May 2023 visa bulletin as well.
- Furthermore, EB-5 Unreserved category for Indian nationals in the Final Action dates chart is now subject to cutoff date of April 1, 2017. In the earlier March 2023’s Visa Bulletin notes, the DOS had warned that further retrogression for this category for Indian nationals may become necessary and this situation must be continuously monitored in the coming months.
- Now, in the 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’.
• Family-based Immigrant Visa Categories:
- A reminder that DOS is using the Dates for Filing for Family-Sponsored Adjustment of Status Applications.
- But in connection with the actual Final Action Dates table which is the actual visa availability date table to look at, and starting in the last month (June 2023), due to the steady usage of the F2A – Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents – DOS had to set a final action date for this category in order to maintain steady availability of this particular visa category for the upcoming months.
- So, Final Action Date for F2A- India is September 8, 2020. This is the same date for use for China, Philippines, and the Rest of the World. Mexico’s F2A cutoff date is November 1, 2018.
- In this month’s notes, DOS also explains because F2A visa numbers have maintained steady usage, therefore, there is “strong likelihood that it will be necessary to retrogress the final action date next month to keep number use within the FY-2023 annual limit.”
- In addition, the DOS also explains that the F2B – Unmarried Son and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Resident, is experiencing steady usage throughout the FY2023 and “it may become necessary to retrogress the final action dates for Rest of World countries, India, and China in the coming months to keep number use within the FY-2023 annual limit.”
- DOS points out that these visa movements need to be carefully monitored, and it will adjust accordingly.
• Diversity Visa Lottery:
- A reminder again about the Diversity Immigrant Visa category. It had previously confirmed 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.
While the monthly visa bulletin is showing slower movement in visa cut off dates, we do encourage you to check in this space regularly for any further updates.
Pasricha & Patel’s Immigration Department has extensive experience in handling business and personal immigration matters. Our team is happy to speak with you on your specific issue.