The Department of State has just released it’s monthly update for immigrant visa applicants. With the March 2017 Visa Bulletin only a few hours old, it’s time to break down what changes have been made to the final action dates and the dates of filing.
March 2017 Visa Bulletin Overview
To quickly summarize the changes before diving into the details, there have been many movements forward across the both the family-based and employment-based preference categories. Almost every category has moved forward at least several weeks with the exception of a few. Some, such as Chinese EB-3 applicants, may be pleasantly surprised by how far their final action date has moved. We are also pleased to announce that no dates have retrogressed since last month.
However, in order to fully understand the changes, we must take a look at the specific dates for the major preference categories. Be sure to see the full March 2017 Visa Bulletin on the Department of State website.
Family-Based Visa Preference Categories
The bulletin breaks the chargeability countries down into five separate groups: All Other Chargeability Areas (general areas), China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines.
The F1 is a family-based green card visa that is reserved for the children of U.S. citizens.
- For this category, the final action dates for the general areas, China, and India have moved up fourteen weeks from February 22, 2010 to June 1st, 2010.
- For Mexico, the date has moved forward one week from May 8, 1995 to May 15, 1995.
- For the Philippines, the date has moved up two weeks from December 1, 2005 to December 15, 2005.
F2A: This preference level is designed for the spouses and children of lawful permanent residents (green card holders).
- The date for Mexico has moved forward three weeks from April 1, 2015 to April 22, 2015.
- The dates for all other countries have moved up about three weeks from April 15, 2015 to May 8, 2015.
F2B: This category is reserved for the adult unmarried children of lawful permanent residents. These children must be 21 years of age or older.
- For applicants from Mexico, your date has moved forward two weeks from November 8, 1995 to November 22, 1995.
- The date for the Philippines has moved up three weeks from April 8, 2006 to May 1, 2006.
- India, China, and the general areas have had their dates moved forward three weeks from July 8, 2010 to August 15, 2010.
The F3 is for the married children of U.S. citizens.
- Mexicans applying for this category will find that their date has moved forward one week from December 15, 1994 to December 22, 1994.
- The dates for China, India, and the general areas have moved ahead one month from March 22, 2005 to April 22, 2005.
- The date for the Philippines has not moved and remains on September 8, 1994.
The F4 is meant for the siblings (brothers or sisters) of U.S. citizens who are 21 years of age or older.
- For China, the date has moved forward one month from January 22, 2004 to February 22, 2004.
- The date for India has moved forward three weeks from June 15, 2003 to July 22, 2003.
- For Mexico, the date has moved ahead one week from May 22, 1997 to June 1, 1997.
- The date for the Philippines has moved up one week from June 22, 1993 to August 1, 1993
- Lastly, for the general areas, the date has moved forward two weeks from February 8, 2004 to February 22, 2004.
Family-Based Visa Charts
Employment-Based Visa Category Dates
The bulletin breaks the employment-based green card chargeability countries down into five separate groups: All Other Chargeability Areas (general areas), China, India, Mexico, the Philippines as well as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (Central America).
The EB1 immigrant visa is designed for extraordinary workers, researchers, professors, managers, or executives.
Fortunately for EB1 applicants, the final action dates for all countries remain current. Meaning that you can apply for your green card as soon as your I-140 petition is approved.
EB2 visas are reserved for foreign professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability.
- The final action date for China has moved forward one month from November 15, 2012 to December 15, 2012.
- The date for India has moved ahead six weeks from April 15, 2008 to June 1, 2008.
- The dates for all other countries remain current.
The EB3 visa is divided into three categories: skilled workers (requiring at least 2 years of experience), professionals with bachelor’s degrees, and “other workers”. The other workers category has a slightly different set of final action dates, as shown by the charts.
- The EB3 date for China have moved forward five months and two weeks from October 1, 2013 to March 15, 2014.
- For Central America, Mexico, and the general areas, the date has gone forward two months from October 1, 2016 to December 1, 2016.
- The final action date for India remains the same as last month: March 22, 2005.
- For the Philippines, the date has jumped ahead five months from October 15, 2011 to March 15, 2012.
The final action dates for the third preference “other workers” category are exactly the same as the dates shown above except for one difference: for China, the date has moved two months from December 1, 2005 to Februrary 1, 2006.
Employment-Based Visa Charts
How You Can Stay Up-To-Date
If you want to keep up with the latest changes in the complex world of immigration law, you can always subscribe to the monthly newsletters released from the Department of State. All you need to do is send an email to [email protected] with the words “Subscribe Visa Bulletin” in the message body.
How Our Immigration Attorneys Can Help
If you are in the process of obtaining a green card or would like to start that process, it’s always best to have a reputable team of experienced immigration lawyers helping you along the way.
Our immigration attorneys specialize in both family-based and employment-based green cards. If you want your green card as quickly as possible with the fewest obstacles, SGM Law Group is the firm for you. To contact one of our attorneys, you can fill out this contact form to schedule a consultation.