USCIS Sets July 2022 Adjustment of Status Filing Charts For the Visa Bulletin
Pasricha & Patel
With the U.S. Department of State’s publication of the July 2022 Visa Bulletin, the USCIS has again confirmed that it will continue to follow the Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Adjustment of Status Applications for the July 2022 Visa Bulletin.
USCIS also confirms that it will continue to follow the Dates for Filing for Family-Sponsored Adjustment of Status Applications for the July 2022 Visa Bulletin as family-based immigrant visa usage continues to grow as U.S. consulates move toward normal operations.
But a reminder here that even though in the July 2022 visa bulletin, the F2A category (which is for spouses and children of lawful permanent resident) remains ‘Current’ on the Final Action Dates Chart for Family-Sponsored Adjustment of Status Applications preference cases, the Department of State had already noted in its previous June 2022 visa bulletin that because large numbers of F2A applicants have had their cases brought to final action, it may become necessary to establish a F2A final action date as early as the August 2022 visa bulletin.
Department of State also explained in its June 2022 visa bulletin notes that they are monitoring this visa category carefully and they may have to make adjustments as they see fit moving forward. If the Final Action date is set for the F2A category, it will be the first time that it has been established since this F2A category first became ‘current’ in the July 2019 visa bulletin in order to spur demand by applicants who are otherwise eligible for this preference category.
On the employment-based visa category aspect, as previously predicted by the U.S. Department of State in late 2021, the employment-based 3rd visa preference category for India and China for the month of July 2022 visa bulletin has not moved at all. However, there continues to be noticeable movement forward of visa dates in the EB-2 India visa preference category under the Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases. In the July 2022 visa bulletin, EB-2 India now shows visa availability before December 1, 2014. Previously, in the June 2022 visa bulletin, the same table for EB-2 India showed visa availability date of September 1, 2014. So, this does represent meaningful forward movement for EB-2 India applicants. Meanwhile, the EB-3 India visa category remains stagnant at January 15, 2012 in the Final Action Dates table.
As a further reminder, these stagnant 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 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. 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 retrogression to the present and it is projected to last for the foreseeable future as well.
It should be noted that the July 2022 EB-1 visa preference category continues to remain Current for both China and India, along with all other countries.
Meanwhile, EB-2 China’s Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases for the month of July 2022 also moved ahead to April 1, 2019, which is one month ahead of its June 2022 visa bulletin date of March 1, 2019.
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 this current fiscal year 2022. Meanwhile, the EB-3 visa filing dates would remain stagnant for the upcoming fiscal year.
However, there continues to be signals ahead where the demand for EB-2 visas remains stronger than usual (note: this has also been spurred by the separate USCIS announcement that it is encouraging applicants to file employment-based petitions using the EB-2 visa preference category, if eligible) that there could be a stoppage to the forward movement of the EB-2 visas, with great likelihood that the EB-2 visa would retrogress. It is evident that EB-2 visa forward movement is already slowing down in these last few months. It goes without saying that this particular visa category warrants continuous monitoring in the coming months.
About the EB-3 visa preference category, for EB-3 India, the visa filing date under the Final Action Dates for Filing for Employment-Based Preference cases remains the same date of January 15, 2012 in the July 2022 visa bulletin as it was in the June 2022 visa bulletin. It is expected to remain on the same date for the remainder of the Fiscal Year 2022.
As for EB-3 China, the visa filing date also remained stagnant, as the Final Action Date remained at March 22, 2018 in the July visa bulletin. The Department of State also confirmed that due to high number use in the Employment Third Preference “Other Workers” category, it has set a worldwide final action date of May 8, 2019, in July 2022 in order to hold visa number usage within maximum allowed under FY2022 fiscal limit. The only exceptions are China, which is subject to June 1, 2012 final action date, and India, which is subject to January 15, 2012 final action date.
With no movement in the general EB-3 India and China visa preference categories for the July 2022 visa bulletin, previous projections from the Department of State that the visa filing dates for this particular category may remain stagnant for the foreseeable future and at least for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2022 continues to hold true.
The reason for the stagnant movement in the EB-3 India and China visa preference category is due to the fact that applicants in those particular visa categories had previously filed for EB-2 to EB-3 visa preference category downgrades with the USCIS. But they most likely would have retained their initial EB-2 I-140 approvals as well. However, with the EB-2 visa movement also slowing down, the EB-2 and EB-3 India and China visa users are facing the likelihood of possible retrogression as mentioned above.
For the month of July 2022, the Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR) category continues to show ‘Current’ for all countries, with the exception of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
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’.
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 November 22, 2015 in that category. Meanwhile, application filing date for C5 (which is set aside for employment creation outside a targeted area), and T5 (which is set aside for employment creation with employment creation outside the targeted area) for Chinese born applicants as well as applicants from around the world still remain ‘Current’. All reserved categories are ‘Current’ for all countries in the July 2022 visa bulletin as well.
As the visa bulletin filing dates continue to slow down in Fiscal Year 2022, 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.
Should you wish to discuss your case matter further, we encourage you to contact our office and schedule an appointment so we can assist you further.