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US Department of State Publishes September 2019 Visa Bulletin

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Pasricha & Patel Takeaways:

U.S. Department of State’s September 2019 visa bulletin reflects the dramatic change in the USCIS demand pattern for adjustment of status applicants during July 2019, as well as a larger than anticipated return of unused numbers which had been provided to consular offices for July use. This has resulted in the latest development in which EB-1 and EB-2 preference Final Action dates for most countries, as well as the EB-5 India preference categories have been able to advance.

However, for India EB-1 and EB-3, the USCIS demand for adjustment of status applicants with priority dates earlier than those dates remain excessive. Therefore, it was necessary to make the India EB-1 category ‘unavailable’ in July, and it will remain so until the start of the new fiscal year in October 2019. The India EB-3 preference date has also retrogressed and that date will be imposed immediately.

And as for China EB-1 and EB-3, due to excessive demand in the EB-1 category, the EB-1 final action date also has to retrogress. Furthermore, there has been a dramatic increase in the USCIS demand for China EB-3 numbers and that has required retrogression of that date in order to stem future numbers use for the remaining annual limit. Both of the EB-1 and EB-3 retrogressed September dates will be imposed effective immediately.

And for the Worldwide E-4 preference category, since June 2019, the USCIS demand for E4 numbers, specifically for Juvenile Court Dependent adjustment of status applicants, has increased dramatically, and this has resulted in the E4 annual limit been reached. As a result, the entire E4 category is ‘unavailable’ for September, and this becomes effective immediately.

U.S. Department of State also observes that it is likely that corrective action will also be required for other preferences prior to the end of the fiscal year 2019. But a reminder that the preference numbers will be available for applicants in the above listed preference categories starting on October 1, 2019 using the Fiscal Year 2020 annual limits. And U.S. Department of State states that it will make every effort to return these final action dates to (at least) the dates which had originally been announced for August 2019.

These dates should be maintained until the end of fiscal year 2019, as the Department of State does expect the Final Action Dates will return back to July 2019 levels starting in October 2019, which is the start of the Fiscal Year 2020.

On the family-based visa categories, F2A spouse and children of permanent residents category remains ‘current’ for the month of September. And the expectation is that the USCIS will also continue to allow those F2A applicants to use the Final Action Dates chart in the September 2019 Visa Bulletin. But for all the other family-based preference categories, visa applicants will still use the Dates for Filing chart in the September 2019 Visa Bulletin.

We suggest that readers continue to keep an eye out for any updates on this issue via our website. And should our readers have any further questions about the various visa preference categories, please do not hesitate to contact our office to schedule a consultation to discuss this matter further.