LawFlash

Department of State Releases January 2016 Visa Bulletin

December 16, 2015

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

The US Department of State (DOS) has released its January 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 January 2016 Visa Bulletin Say?

The January 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 will be directed to use the Application Final Action Dates chart to determine when applicants may file their adjustment of status application. For January 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 January, 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

01FEB12—no change

01FEB08
(was June07)

C

C

3rd

01OCT15
(was 01SEPT15)

01JUL12
(was 15APR12)

15MAY04
(was 22APR04)

01OCT15
(was 01SEPT15)

01NOV07
(was 01Aug07)

Other Workers

01OCT15
(was 01SEPT15)

01DEC06
(was01AUG06)

15MAY04
(was 22APR04)

01OCT15
(was 01SEPT15
)

01NOV07
(was 01Aug07)

4th

C

C

C

C

C

Certain Religious Workers

U

U

U

U

U

5th
Nonregional
Center
(C5 and T5)

C

08JAN14

C

C

C

5th
Regional
Center
(I5 and R5)

U

U

C

C

C

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 eight months to February 1, 2008. Note that the EB-2 China category did not advance or retrogress at all but remained at February 1, 2012. Other classification categories saw only minimal advancement of three weeks to two months. Read the entire January 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