September is the final month before the end of the fiscal year. With that comes a new start for visas across the board. Hundreds of thousands of people have petitioned for green cards and are waiting for their priority dates to become current. To see where your date stands and what you may be able to expect in in the future, take a look at the predictions and analysis in this September 2017 visa bulletin.
September 2017 Visa Bulletin Overview
Like the last few months, the dates seem to be stagnating. More of the dates have been over subscribed, meaning that many of the categories have not moved from last month and others have even retrogressed several years. Take a look at how the dates have moved in the new September 2017 visa bulletin.
Family-Based Visa Preference Categories
The green cards in the family-based category have been divided into four preference levels according to the family member that sponsors the green card. Within these levels, there are five chargeability areas that are as follows: China, India, Mexico, the Philippines, and all other countries (or the general category).
Take a look at how the dates for the family-based green cards have moved in the September 2017 visa bulletin.
This first preference, the F1 green card, is meant for the children and dependents of U.S. citizens.
- The dates for the general category, China, and India have all retrogressed and moved backward from December 22, 2010, to May 1, 2010.
- The date for Mexico has not seen any movement and remains at February 1, 1996.
- The date for the Philippines has moved forward 10 weeks from October 15, 2006, to January 1, 2007.
The F2 green card is designed for the children and spouses of lawful permanent residents (green card holders). The F2 preference level is further divided into two subcategories:
F2A: which is for the spouses of lawful permanent residents as well as their unmarried children under the age of 21.
- The dates for the general category, China, India, and the Philippines have all moved up one week from September 22, 2015, to October 1, 2015.
- The date for Mexico has moved forward 3 weeks from September 1, 2015, to September 22, 2015.
F2B: which is for the unmarried children of lawful permanent residents over the age of 21.
- The dates for the general category, China, and India have all seen no movement and remain at November 1, 2010.
- The date for Mexico has seen no movement and remains at July 1, 1996.
- The date for the Philippines has moved forward three weeks from December 8, 2006, to January 1, 2007.
The third preference level is the F3 green card, which was created for the married children of U.S. citizens.
- The dates for the general category, China, and India have all seen no movement and remain at July 8, 2005.
- The date for Mexico has seen no movement and remains at April 8, 2005.
- The date for the Philippines has moved forward three weeks from January 22, 1995, to February 15, 1995.
Lastly, the lowest preference level for family-based immigration, the F4 green card, is meant for the siblings (brother and sisters) of U.S. citizens.
- The dates for the general category and China have retrogressed for almost than two and a half years from May 8, 2004, to January 2, 2002.
- The date for India has retrogressed over one year and nine months from September 22, 2003, to January 1, 2002.
- The date for Mexico has not seen any movement and remains at September 15, 1997.
- The date for the Philippines has moved forward 7 weeks from April 8, 1994, to June 1, 1994.
Family-Based Visa Chart
Here is the chart for family-based green cards from the September 2017 visa bulletin.
Employment-Based Visa Category Dates
The employment-based green card category has five preference levels that vary according to the occupations and qualifications of the individuals. For the purposes of this visa bulletin report and analysis, we will only focus on the first three levels as they see the most applicants.
Like the family-based green cards these preference levels are also divided into six chargeability areas: the general category, China, India, Mexico, the Philippines, and Central America (or El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala).
Here are the employment-based dates according to the visa bulletin for September 2017.
The most prestigious green card is the EB-1, which is reserved for individuals who have attained extraordinary achievement, outstanding researchers and professors, or the managers and executives of multinational companies.
- The dates for the general category, Central America, Mexico, and the Philippines are all current.
- The dates for China and India have seen no movement and remain at January 1, 2012.
The EB-2 is the most popular employment-based green card by far. Those who qualify either have an advanced degree, exceptional ability in their field, or are eligible for an National Interest Waiver.
- The dates for the general category, Central America, Mexico, and the Philippines have all gone forward 8 months from April 1, 2015, to January 1, 2016.
- The date for China has moved forward three weeks from April 22, 2013, to May 15, 2013.
- The date for India has moved forward one month from July 22, 2008, to August 22, 2008.
The final level that we will focus on is the EB-3, which is meant for workers with bachelors degrees as well as skilled and unskilled labor occupations (or other workers). You will notice below that the “other workers” group has slightly different dates.
- The dates for the general category, Central America, and Mexico are all current.
- The date for China has seen no movement and remains at January 1, 2012.
- The date for India has moved forward three months from July 15, 2006, to October 15, 2006.
- The date for the Philippines has moved forward five months from June 1, 2015, to November 1, 2015.
Employment-Based Visa Chart
Here is the chart for employment-based green cards from the August 2017 visa bulletin.
September 2017 Visa Bulletin Predictions
While these date movements and retrogressions may seem problematic, there is hope. Because the 2018 fiscal year will begin on the 1st of October, many of the dates will reset. For example, the F1 category will return to December 22, 2010. The F4 category will also reset, though the new dates will be announced in October. Speak with your immigration attorney to learn exactly where your date will stand in the 2018 fiscal year.
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How Our Immigration Attorneys Can Help
One of the most common mistakes that people make when applying for a green card is attempting to go it alone. This can easily lead to crucial mistakes that can cost you both time and money. To make sure that you are on the optimal path to the U.S., it is important to have an expert green card lawyer in your corner.
Our top-notch team of immigration attorneys have years of experience helping people from all over the world immigrate to the U.S. either through their families or through their employment. We help you with everything from filing your petition to dealing with unexpected issues such as RFEs and work with both the beneficiary as well as the sponsor.
If you have any questions about the September 2017 visa bulletin and would like to contact one of our attorneys, feel free to fill out this consultation form to schedule a consultation today.
See last month’s August 2017 visa bulletin here.