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Department of State Releases February 2016 Visa Bulletin

January 27, 2016

Employment-based adjustment of status applicants must file using the Application Final Action Dates chart.

The US Department of State (DOS) has released its February 2016 Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletin sets out per-country priority date cutoffs that regulate immigrant visa availability and the flow of adjustment of status and consular immigrant visa application filings and approvals.

What Does the February 2016 Visa Bulletin Say?

The February 2016 Visa Bulletin includes both a Dates for Filing Visa Applications and Application Final Action Dates chart. The former indicates when intending immigrants may file their applications for adjustment of status or immigrant visa, and the latter indicates when an adjustment of status application or immigrant visa application may be approved and permanent residence granted.

If the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines that there are more immigrant visas available for a fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, it will state on its website that applicants may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart. Otherwise, applicants should use the Application Final Action Dates chart to determine when they may file their adjustment of status applications. For February 2016, USCIS has announced that employment-based (EB) applicants may only use the Application Final Action Dates chart.

To be eligible to file an EB adjustment application in February, foreign nationals must have a priority date that is earlier than the date listed below for their preference category and country (changes from last month’s Visa Bulletin dates are shown in yellow):


EB

All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed

China
(mainland born)

India

Mexico

Philippines

1st

C

C

C

C

C

2nd

C

01MAR12—
(was 01Feb 12)

01AUG08
(was 01FEB08)

C

C

3rd

01OCT15
(no change)

01OCT12
(was 01JUL12)

15JUN04
(was 15MAY04)

01OCT15
(no change)

08JAN08
(was 01NOV07)

Other Workers

01OCT15
(no change)

22DEC06
(was 01AUG06)

15JUN04
(was 15MAY04)

01OCT15
(was 01SEPT15
)

08JAN08

(was 01NOV07)

4th

C

C

C

C

C

Certain Religious Workers

C (was U)

C (was U)

C (was U)

C (was U)

C (was U)

5th
Nonregional
Center
(C5 and T5)

C

15JAN14
(was 08JAN14)

C

C

C

5th
Regional
Center
(I5 and R5)

C (was U)

15JAN14 (was U)

C (was U)

C (was U)

C (was U)

How This Affects You

The largest change in the Application Final Action Dates chart is in the EB-2 India category, which has advanced by six months to August 1, 2008. The EB-2 China category advanced by one month only, and the EB-3 China category advanced by two and a half months to October 1, 2012. Certain Religious Workers and EB-5 matters (Regional Center I5 and R5) became current once again, with the exception of China, which is backlogged to January 15, 2014, in the EB-5 category. Other classification categories saw only minimal advancement of three weeks to three months. Read the entire February 2016 Visa Bulletin.

Contacts

For more information, or if you have any questions regarding the issues discussed in this Immigration Alert, please contact any of the following lawyers:

Washington, DC
Eleanor Pelta
Eric S. Bord

San Francisco
A. James Vázquez-Azpiri

Boston
Lisa Stephanian Burton