20 Jul August Visa Bulletin Confirms Retrogression for EB-1 Worldwide, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the Philippines
Washington, D.C., July 18, 2018: On July 13, 2018, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) released the August 2018 Visa Bulletin. Of particular note, a May 1, 2016 cut-off date was instituted in the employment-based, first preference (EB-1) category for EB-1 Worldwide, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the Philippines. The visa bulletin confirms that the final action date of May 1, 2016, will take effect “immediately”. This language and the unexpected mid-month cut-off date imposition has created confusion among immigration practitioners and applicants as to whether I-485 Adjustment of Status filings will be accepted in July of 2018.
Although the May 1, 2016, final action date does take immediate effect, USCIS has confirmed that it will continue to accept I-485 applications for EB-1 Worldwide, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the Philippines through the end of July 2018, even for EB-1 categories that were immediately retrogressed by the DOS on July 13, 2018. Beginning August 1, 2018, USCIS will only accept I-485 applications for these categories for applicants with a priority date before May 1, 2016.
During the remainder of July 2018, USCIS may continue to interview and adjudicate adjustment applications based on EB-1 Worldwide, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the Philippines petitions regardless of priority date, however, it will only be able to approve such cases with a priority date before May 1, 2016. If a local USCIS office requests an immigrant visa for these cases, the request will be added to the Department of State’s pending demand file to be completed once the priority date is current again. The local USCIS office which conducted the adjustment of status interview will send the adjustment of status application back to the USCIS Texas Service Center. Once the priority date is current again, USCIS will finalize the application and send out green cards to the applicant and eligible family members. It is important that applicants keep their addresses current with USCIS during this period of time.
Individuals who are anticipating filing a concurrent I-140/I-485 application will only be able to do so for the remainder of July. Similarly, individuals with approved I-140 petitions in the EB-1 category should attempt to file adjustment of status in July of 2018, if at all possible.
The EB-1 Worldwide category is expected to become current in October 2018, the first month of FY 2019, however, DOS has not definitively confirmed whether the EB-1 China and India categories will do the same. Individuals with pending EB-1 applications can consider upgrading their petition to premium processing at the beginning of September, 2018, in anticipation of filing an I-485 adjustment of status application upon their priority date becoming current in October, 2018.
I.A. Donoso & Associates will continue to provide updates on important visa retrogression as the year continues. I.A. Donoso & Associates is uniquely positioned to report on these changes because of our location in Washington, D.C.