As more and more people have petitioned for green cards across the globe, a whole host of new opportunities are created in the U.S. for foreign nationals from all walks of life. For those waiting for their green card to become current, these visa bulletins are incredibly valuable. If this is you, then keep reading to see where your new date stands in the October 2017 visa bulletin.
October 2017 Visa Bulletin Overview
As you may already know, October 1st marks the beginning of the 2018 fiscal year for the USCIS. Recently, there have been some discouraging movements across almost all of the visa categories. However, as predicted in previous bulletins, many dates have reset or otherwise jumped forward with the start of this new fiscal year.
Family-Based Visa Preference Categories
If you are unaware of the family immigrant visa categories, here is a quick rundown. There are four preference levels for these kinds of green cards and each preference level is divided into five different geographic areas of chargeability: China, India, Mexico, the Philippines, and all other unnamed countries (called the general category).
Let’s see how the dates have moved in the October 2017 visa bulletin for family-based green cards.
The F1 green card is for the children and dependents of U.S. citizens.
- The dates for the general category, China, and India have all moved forward seven months and three weeks from May 1, 2010, to December 22, 2010.
- The date for Mexico has moved up one month from February 1, 1996, to March 1, 1996.
- The date for the Philippines has not seen any movement and remains at January 1, 2007.
The second preference is separated into two subcategories, which are divided according to the beneficiary’s relationship to the sponsor. Overall, this preference level is for the children and spouses of green card holders (or lawful permanent residents).
F2A – this subcategory is for the spouses of green card holders and their unmarried children younger than 21 years of age.
- The dates for the general category, China, India, and the Philippines have all moved forward three weeks from October 1, 2015, to October 22, 2015.
- The date for Mexico has moved ahead three weeks from September 22, 2015, to October 15, 2015.
F2B – this subcategory is for the unmarried children of green card holders who are 21 years old or older.
- The dates for the general category, China, and India have all moved forward one week from November 1, 2010, to November 8, 2010.
- The date for Mexico has moved ahead two weeks from July 1, 1996, to July 15, 1996.
- The date for the Philippines has seen no movement and remains at January 1, 2007.
The F3 green card is meant for the married children of U.S. citizens.
- The dates for the general category, China, and India have all moved forward two weeks from July 8, 2005, to July 22, 2005.
- The date for Mexico has moved up two weeks from April 8, 1995, to April 22, 1995.
- The date for the Philippines has moved ahead one week from February 15, 1995, to February 22, 1995.
The last preference level, the F4 green card, is reserved for the brothers and sisters (or siblings) of U.S. citizens.
- The dates for the general category and China have all moved forward two years, five months, and one week from January 1, 2002, to May 8, 2004.
- The date for India has moved up one year and ten months from January 1, 2002, to October 1, 2003.
- The date for Mexico has moved forward two weeks from September 15, 1997, to October 1, 1997.
- The date for the Philippines has not seen any movement and remains at June 1, 1994.
Family-Based Visa Charts
Take a look at the chart for family-based green cards from the October 2017 visa bulletin.
Employment-Based Visa Preference Categories
Similar to the family-based green cards, the employment-based immigrant visas are also divided into several preference levels and chargeability areas. However, these preference levels are separated according to the qualifications and occupation of the beneficiary. While there are five total chargeability areas, we will only focus on the first three.
There are six main chargeability areas that are considered here: China, India, Mexico, the Philippines, Central America (Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala), and the general category.
Take a look at the employment-based dates according to the visa bulletin for October 2017.
This first and most prestigious level of employment-based immigrant visa is the EB-1, reserved for foreign nationals who have extraordinary achievements in their fields, outstanding researchers and professors, as well as the executives and managers of multinational companies.
- All dates for this category are now current, which is a significant step forward as the dates for China and India were previously set at January 1, 2012.
The EB-2, the most common employment-based green card, is meant for those that have advanced degrees, exceptional ability in their fields, and those that qualify for a National Interest Waiver.
- The dates for the general category, Central America, Mexico, and the Philippines are all current where they were previously set at January 1, 2016.
- The date for China has moved up one week from May15, 2013, to May 22, 2013.
- The date for India has moved forward three weeks from August 22, 2008, to September 15, 2008.
The last preference level that we will cover in this visa bulletin is the EB-3, which is designated for professionals (bachelors degree holders), skilled workers (2+ years of experience), and unskilled laborers.
- The dates for the general category, Central America, and Mexico all remain current.
- The date for China has moved forward two years from January 1, 2012, to January 1, 2014.
- The date for India has not seen any movement and remains at October 15, 2006.
- The date for the Phillipines has moved up one month from November 1, 2015, to December 1, 2015.
- The “other workers” date for China has moved forward two years from January 1, 2004, to January 1, 2006.
Employment-Based Visa Chart
To get a visual idea of the movement, take a look at this chart taken from the October 2017 visa bulletin.
October 2017 Visa Bulletin Predictions
Now that the new fiscal year has come, we see plenty of movement in areas that were stagnating over the past several months. In some cases, the final action date has moved forward several years. However, it still seems as though some of the family based green cards are still oversubscribed as a few of the dates have not moved at all.
The next several months may see more predictable patterns of movement after this expected leap forward for many of the dates. However, the new executive administration may be laying plans for an expedited green card process. We may be able to see some positive changes in these priority dates in the future.
How You Can Stay Updated
In the ever-changing world of immigration law, it pays to be current on the updates. To make sure that you don’t miss a thing, you can subscribe to the newsletter released by the Department of State. By sending an email with the message “Subscribe Visa Bulletin” to [email protected], you can receive the latest info like the October 2017 visa bulletin.
How Our Immigration Attorneys Can Help
Getting a green card may be the most involved process you go through during your immigration journey. Because of all the complicated dates, fees, interviews, and forms, it can be easy to find yourself in the pitfalls that often come to those that attempt to apply on their own. That’s why it’s always best to hire an immigration attorney.
Here at SGM Law Group, we handle every step of the green card process from choosing the best green card for you to filing the petition and dealing with any unexpected legal obstacles. To get in touch with one of our attorneys, you can fill out this contact form and schedule your consultation today.
See last month’s September 2017 visa bulletin here.