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March 2019 Visa Bulletin Commentary

The March 2019 Visa Bulletin was released last Friday. Below are the new priority dates. It was disappointing to see that EB1 all countries is still not current, and the priority date has not advanced from last month’s bulletin. We have a number of clients in holding patterns and are monitoring this carefully as a result. We are hoping to see some more significant movement in the coming months.

 

March 2019

For all countries except India, China, Philippines, and Mexico: F2A category priority date advances 38 days to 8 January 2017, F2B preference advances 92 days to a PD of 1 August 2012, F4 category advances 92 days to 22 September 2005; EB1 advances 31 days to 1 January 2018; EB2 remains current; and EB3 remains current.

For India only: F2A category advances 38 days to a priority date of 8 January 2017, F2B preference advances 92 days to 1 August 2012, F4 advances 16 days to a PD of 8 July 2004; EB1 advances 14 days to a PD of 22 February 2017; EB2 advances 3 days to 9 April 2009; EB3 advances 30 days to a PD of 22 May 2009.

For China only: EB1 advances 14 days to a PD of 22 February 2017; EB2 advances 92 days to a PD of 1 January 2016; EB3 advances 7 days to a PD of 8 July 2015; EB5 Non-Regional Center advances 7 days to a PD of 8 September 2014; EB5 Regional Center is currently unavailable.

For Vietnam only: EB5 Non-Regional Center advances 30 days to a PD of 15 July 2016; EB5 Regional Center is currently unavailable.

 

Can file your immigrant applications if PD before:

F2A 8 December 2017; F2B 22 June 2014 for All Areas, except 8 February 1998 for Mexico and 22 January 2008 for Philippines; F4 22 June 2006 for All Areas, except 8 February 2005 for India, 8 November 1998 for Mexico, and 8 January 1998 for Philippines.

EB1 1 June 2018 for all countries, except 1 October 2017 for China and India; EB2 All countries except India and China are current; EB3 All countries except India, China, and Philippines are current; EB2 India remains at 22 May 2009; EB3 India remains at 1 April 2010; EB2 China advances 182 days to 1 May 2016; EB3 China remains at 1 January 2016; EB5 China (RC and Non-RC) remains at 1 October 2014; Vietnam is not individually listed and should use the all countries category.

 

Note from Tahmina:

 

In light of the recent No-RFE memo as well the NTA memos, it is important that those waiting to receive their green cards maintain their underlying visa status.

**Copyright 2019 by Watson Immigration Law. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

Notes copied from the Department of State regarding Visa availability:

 

D.  SCHEDULED EXPIRATION OF TWO EMPLOYMENT VISA CATEGORIES

Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR):

Pursuant to the continuing resolution, signed on January 25, 2019, the non-minister special immigrant program expires on February 15, 2019. No SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after midnight February 14, 2019. Visas issued prior to this date will only be issued with a validity date of February 14, 2019, and all individuals seeking admission as a non-minister special immigrant must be admitted (repeat, admitted) into the U.S. no later than midnight February 14, 2019.

The final action date for this category has been listed as “Unavailable” for March. If there is legislative action extending this category for FY-2019, the final action date would immediately become “Current” for March for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras which would be subject to a March 1, 2016 final action date, and for Mexico which would be subject to a January 1, 2018 date.

Employment Fifth Preference Categories (I5 and R5):

The continuing resolution signed on January 25, 2019 extended this immigrant investor pilot program until February 15, 2019. The I5 and R5 visas may be issued until close of business on February 15, 2019, and may be issued for the full validity period. No I5 or R5 visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after February 15, 2019.

The final action dates for the I5 and R5 categories have been listed as “Unavailable” for March. If there is legislative action extending them for FY-2019, the final action dates would immediately become “Current” for March for all countries except China-mainland born I5 and R5 which would be subject to a September 8, 2014 final action date and Vietnam, which would be subject to a July 15, 2016 final action date.