The September 2018 US Department of State Visa Bulletin: EB Retrogression

The Department of State (DOS) posted the Visa Bulletin for September 2018, which provides the visa number availability for family-sponsored and employment-sponsored preference categories, as well as for the diversity visa lottery cut-offs. Applicants for immigrant visas (and adjustment of status to legal permanent residency) who have a priority date (place in line) earlier than the application date in the chart may file for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status.  USCIS has not yet announced whether it will accept adjustment of status applications based on the filing or final action date charts for September 2018.

What is most significant about September 2018’s Visa Bulletin is the EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 Worldwide categories will all be backlogged. The following information is the for the final action dates chart for employment-based visas. The EB-1 category remains backlogged at January 1, 2012, for China and India and will regress for the Worldwide category to June 1, 2016. The EB-2 Worldwide and China categories will retrogress to January 1, 2013, and India will be backlogged at January 1, 2007. The EB-3 Worldwide category will regress to November 1, 2016, while the backlog will be at November 1, 2014, for China and January 1, 2003, for India.

Due to a high demand for employment based visas, the Final Action Dates stated in the September 2018 Visa Bulletin took effect on August 9, 2018, for those filing in the Worldwide, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Philippines EB-2, EB-3 and EW preference categories. However, anecdotally, USCIS has been accepting Form I-485 applications to adjust status for these categories that are current according to the August 2018 Visa Bulletin.

According to Section G of the September 2018 Visa Bulletin, the visa numbers in EB-2, EB-3, and EW should become available again in October 2018. However, it is not likely that the EB-1 categories will advance significantly before December 2018 or until the second quarter of FY2019.