USCIS Sets March 2022 Adjustment of Status Filing Charts For the Visa Bulletin
Pasricha & Patel
Following the U.S. Department of State’s publication of the March 2022 Visa Bulletin, the USCIS has once again confirmed that it will continue to follow the Dates for Filing for Family-Sponsored Adjustment of Status Applications for the March 2022 Visa Bulletin as family-based immigrant visa usage continues to pick up the pace due to U.S. consulates steadily re-opening abroad.
Because the F2A category remains ‘Current’ on the Final Action Dates Chart for Family-Sponsored Adjustment of Status Applications preference cases, this means that once again, applicants in the F2A category (spouses and children of permanent residents) should continue to follow the Final Action Dates chart for March 2022 visa bulletin and this applies to all nationalities as well.
And continuing the precedent first started in October 2021 and through the first two (2) months of year 2022 for employment-based visa applicants, the USCIS will still follow the Dates for Filing for Employment-based Adjustment of Status Applications chart for the month of March 2022.
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 March 2022 visa bulletin remains stagnant and shows no forward movement at all. However, there was some slight 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 March 2022 visa bulletin, EB-2 India now shows visa availability before May 1, 2013. Previously, in the February 2022 visa bulletin, the same table for EB-2 India showed visa availability date of January 1, 2013.
As a reminder once more, it was Mr. Charlie Oppenheim, who was the former Chief of the Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting Division of the U.S. Department of State, before he retired in December 2021, and in his earlier monthly visa bulletin chats, who stated that these visa slow to non-movements is expected to continue to last for the foreseeable future, and it is the result of 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 2021 and as a result, it greatly outstripped the monthly quota numbers, and it has resulted in retrogression for both countries starting in the November 2021 visa bulletin and it has continued to remain in retrogression to the present and projected for the near future as well.
It should be noted that the March 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 March 2022 also remained at March 1, 2019, which is the same date as its February 2022 visa bulletin date of March 1, 2019.
These visa number movements continue to be consistent with the projections that the Department of State had first provided 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 2023. Meanwhile, the EB-3 visa filing dates would remain stagnant for the upcoming fiscal year.
However, there continues to be signals ahead where if the demand for EB-2 visas remains stronger than usual, 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 Dates for Filing for Employment-Based Adjustment of Status Applications remains the same date of January 22, 2012 in the March 2022 visa bulletin as it was in the February 2022 visa bulletin. It is not expected to move ahead in the foreseeable future.
As for EB-3 China, the visa filing date also remained stagnant, as the filing date remained at April 1, 2018 in the March 2022 visa bulletin. But, there was some slight movement forward for the EB-3 China Other Worker visa preference category as it moved from June 1, 2015 in the February 2022 visa bulletin to July 1, 2015 in the March 2022 visa bulletin under the Dates for Filing for Employment-Based Adjustment of Status Applications table.
With no significant movement in the general EB-3 India and China visa preference categories for the March 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 2023 continues to hold true.
The reasoning for the stagnant movement continues to be 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. But even so, with the EB-2 visa movement also slowing down, the EB-2 and EB-3 India and China visa users are facing likelihood of possible retrogression as mentioned above.
Finally, on the EB-5 direct visa category for the March 2022 visa bulletin section, EB-5 China (non-regional center) remains ‘Current’ in the Dates for Filing for Employment-Based Adjustment of Status Applications. This holds true for all regions as well. However, in the Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases table, the entire EB-5 Regional Center (IR5 and R5) continues to be ‘Unavailable’ because there is lack of legislative action to extend the immigrant investor pilot program behind this particular visa category after it had expired on June 30, 2021. We recommend readers continue to monitor this site for any possible developments on the legislative front that could re-start this category in the coming months.
Also, as of the time of writing of this blog post, H.R. 6119, “Further Extending Government Funding Act” extended the Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR) category only until Friday, February 18, 2022. This means no visas may be issued, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after midnight February 17, 2022, until congress passes another continuing resolution to extend this Employment Fourth Preference Religious Worker category. We suggest readers to follow this blog for any new developments concerning this particular visa category’s renewal.
As the visa bulletin filing dates continue to slow in these last few months, 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.