• February 2019 Visa Bulletin: Modest Advancement in Cutoff Dates Overall; EB-1 Projected to Advance Through May 2019, But Will Remain Backlogged
  • January 11, 2019
  • At a glance

    • EB-1 will advance by two months for most countries, to December 1, 2017; China and India will advance by seven weeks, to February 8, 2017.
    • EB-2 will advance by two months for China, to October 1, 2015, and by less than one week for India, to April 6, 2009. Remaining countries will remain current.
    • The EB-3 subcategory for Professionals and Skilled Workers will remain current for most countries, though China will advance by three weeks to July 1, 2015, and India will advance almost two months to April 22, 2009.

    The situation

    According to the State Department’s February Visa Bulletin, cutoff dates for issuance of an immigrant visa will be as follows:

    • EB-1: All countries except China and India will advance by two months, to December 1, 2017. China and India will advance by seven weeks, to February 8, 2017.
    • EB-2: All countries will remain current, except for China and India. China will advance by two months, to October 1, 2015, while India will advance less than a week to April 6, 2009.
    • EB-3 (Professional and Skilled Workers): Most countries will remain current, while China will advance three weeks to July 1, 2015, and India will advance almost two months to April 22, 2009. The Philippines will advance by five weeks to August 1, 2017.
    • EB-5: The Non-Regional Center category will remain the same for China at September 1, 2014. Vietnam will advance two weeks to June 15, 2016. As discussed below, the Regional Center category is currently unavailable due to its program expiration.

    In the coming days, USCIS is expected to announce on its own Visa Bulletin web page the cutoff dates for acceptance of adjustment of status applications next month. USCIS has indicated that it anticipates using the State Department’s Final Action dates as soon as February 2019. For the last several months, USCIS has used the State Department’s Dates for Filing, a notable change from its usual practices.

    Impact of program expirations

    The EB-4 Non-Minister Religious Worker and EB-5 Regional Center programs expired at midnight on December 21, 2018 and have not yet been reauthorized by legislation. Immigrant visas in these EB-4 and EB-5 subcategories will continue to be unavailable and affected cases will not be approved unless and until legislation is passed to reauthorize the programs. The EB-5 Non-Regional Center program is not affected.

    Immigrant visa availability in the coming months

    The State Department projects the following monthly cut-off date movements through May 2019:

    • EB-1: China and India expected to advance up to one month. Other countries to advance up to two months.
    • EB-2: China to advance up to three months; India to advance up to one week. All other countries expected to remain current for the foreseeable future.
    • EB-3: China to advance up to three weeks; India to advance up to three months. Rapid movement for the Philippines. Remaining countries expected to remain current.
    • EB-4: Mexico to advance “rapidly”; El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to advance up to one week. Other countries to remain current.
    • EB-5: China to advance up to one week; Vietnam to advance up to three weeks. Other countries to remain current.

    FINAL ACTION CUT-OFF DATES FOR FEBRUARY 2019

    EB-1

    China and India: February 8, 2017

    All other countries: December 1, 2017

    EB-2

    China: October 1, 2015

    India: April 6, 2009

    All other countries: Current

    EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers

    China: July 1, 2015

    India: April 22, 2009

    Philippines: August 1, 2017

    All other countries: Current

    EB-3 Other Workers

    China: August 1, 2007

    India: April 22, 2009

    Philippines: August 1, 2017

    All other countries: Current

    EB-4*

    El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras: March 1, 2016

    Mexico: September 1, 2017

    All other countries: Current

    * The EB-4 Non-Religious Worker program is unavailable for all countries until it is reauthorized by legislation.

    EB-5*

    China: September 1, 2014

    Vietnam: June 15, 2016

    All other countries: Current

    * The Regional Center program is unavailable for all countries until it is reauthorized by legislation.

    FILING ELIGIBILITY CUT-OFF DATES FOR FEBRUARY 2019

    EB-1

    China and India: October 1, 2017

    All other countries: June 1, 2018

    EB-2

    China: November 1, 2015

    India: May 22, 2009

    All other countries: Current

    EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers

    China: January 1, 2016

    India: April 1, 2010

    Philippines: October 1, 2017

    All other countries: Current

    EB-3 Other Workers

    China: June 1, 2008

    India: April 1, 2010

    Philippines: October 1, 2017

    All other countries: Current

    EB-4

    El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras: May 1, 2016

    All other countries: Current

    EB-5

    China: October 1, 2014

    Current for all other countries and subcategories