As we approach the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2018, immigrant visa availability generally becomes limited. However, in an unusual movement, the U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) announced yesterday in the August 2018 Visa Bulletin:
WORLDWIDE, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, MEXICO, AND PHILIPPINES EMPLOYMENT-BASED FIRST (E1) PREFERENCE: As readers were advised in item F of the July Visa Bulletin, there continues to be an extremely high rate of demand for E1 numbers, primarily for USCIS adjustment of status applicants. Therefore, pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act, it has been necessary to impose an E1 Final Action Date for the month of August, with this date being imposed immediately. This action will allow the Department to hold worldwide number use within the maximum allowed under the FY-2018 annual limits. (emphasis added).
Mr. Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division within DOS, has indicated:
The August date is being applied immediately to new requests for numbers. Cases scheduled by NVC for July appointments already have number allocated to the applicants. . . This is primarily impacting comeback cases overseas, and USCIS new adjustments.
So, even though the August 2018 Visa Bulletin is not technically in effect, the DOS has used its authority in the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, to prevent visa numbers from being used for EB-1 adjustment of status applications for the remainder of this month. USCIS will announce whether it will allow EB-1 adjustment of status applications to be filed in August.
On a positive note, the August 2018 Visa Bulletin shows that the EB-1 category will become current again on October 1, 2018, for all countries, including China and India.
The employment-based first preference (EB-1) visa category provides a Green Card option for priority workers with extraordinary ability, or outstanding professors or researchers, or multinational executives or managers.
Sometimes, a priority date that is current one month will not be current the next month, or the cut-off date will move backwards to an earlier date. This is called visa retrogression, which occurs when more people apply for a visa in a particular category than there are visas available for that month. Visa retrogression generally occurs when the annual limit for a category or country has been exhausted or is expected to run out soon.
For any questions concerning EB-1 immigrant visas, visa retrogression, adjustment of status eligibility, or any other employment-based immigrant visa application, please contact a Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP attorney.