January 2018 Visa Bulletin Analysis

The first visa bulletin of 2018 is now available.  As predicted by the Department of State, priority dates continue a marginal forward movement.  No categories retrogressed.  In addition to the monthly visa bulletin, an insightful report was published providing graphical data on the number of immigrant visa applicants on the waiting list in the various preferences and subcategories subject to numerical limitations.

Employment-Based Movement

All countries remained current or saw some slight forward movement.  EB-1 is current across the board and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future.  We’ve said it before, but we cannot stress it enough: if you have outstanding abilities, you should consider a review of your qualifications for this category by our expert staff.   Distinguished individuals in the arts, sciences, education, business and sports and outstanding scientists and researchers can benefit significantly if qualified.

EB-2 Worldwide.  As predicted, this category remained current and will likely remain so until the middle of the fiscal year.

EB-2 India moved forward about 3 weeks to 22NOV08, a marginal advance in light of its nearly decade-long backlog.

EB-2 China also advanced just over a month to 08AUG13.

EB-3 Stays current Worldwide. China advanced four weeks to 15APR14. India advanced slightly, which was an improvement over the past three bulletins, landing at 01NOV06.  This is the result of high visa number usage in October due to a significant advancement of the final action date at the end of FY 2017.  Many of the cases that could not be completed in September were finalized and issued a visa number in October.  Demand in this category will be closely watched to determine if continued advancement is possible. 

Family-Based Movement

Family-based priority dates continued to move forward with a somewhat increased pace.

F1 (Unmarried Sons and Daughters of US Citizens) moved forward six weeks Worldwide, China, and India, bringing them all to 15MAR11. Mexico improved over last month with a forward movement of one month to 10MAY96.  The Philippines remains locked in at 01JAN05.

F2A (Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents) moved forward in all columns, advancing steadily six weeks in each column, landing in early 2016 for all. F2B (Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents) for India and Mexico each advanced three weeks.  

F3 (Married Sons and Daughters of US Citizens) continued advancing at a pace of one month for most countries.  

The F4 category (Brothers and Sisters of Adult US Citizens) advanced two weeks for Worldwide and China and three weeks for India and Mexico.  The Philippines advanced one month.

At the time of publication, USCIS has not advised whether it will accept adjustment of status applications for family or employment-based petitions based on the preferred filing dates (Chart B), rather than final action dates.  Chart B was made available for the past two bulletins for Family-Based categories.

USCIS anticipates that this information will be released within one week of the monthly Visa Bulletin.  Ellis Porter will update this posting if the USCIS allows uses of Chart B.