July Visa Bulletin: Impact on Employment Based Categories
Cory A Richards
Each month, the Department of State (DOS) issues a visa bulletin which contains information regarding the availability of immigrant visas. The DOS delivered a delightful update for mainland born Chinese citizens filing I-526 petitions under EB-5 in their July Visa Bulletin. Specifically, the DOS shows that the EB-5 immigrant visa category will advance by four months for mainland born Chinese, from May 1, 2013 to September 1, 2013.
This may come as a shock to individuals that follow Charles Oppenheimer’s (Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at the DOS) predictions for the EB-5 category. Mr. Oppenheimer predicted that the EB-5 cut-off date of May 1, 2013 would remain the same throughout June. Further, he stated that the priority date would only advance six months per year.
If you are not aware how the priority date system works, here is a quick refresh: the DOS has numerical limits on the number of EB-5 visas they may issue each year (10,000). When the quota is reached, the DOS establishes a “waiting line” that determines when an applicant may apply for their immigrant visa. The DOS uses an applicant’s “priority date” to determine when an applicant can apply for their immigrant visa or file an adjustment of status in the United States. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) bases the priority date upon the day their I-526 petition was received. An applicant’s priority date must be on or before the visa bulletin’s priority date in order to apply for their visa. For further information on retrogression and priority dates see the EB-5Investors.com posting here.
Applying the above-mentioned to the July visa bulletin: mainland born Chinese who filed an I-526 petition prior to September 1, 2013 may obtain scheduled interviews at the Guangzhou U.S. consulate; and if the applicant is located within the United States, then they may file for their I-485 application for adjustment of status.
This four month advancement is good news for mainland born Chinese EB-5 applicants with children who will soon turn 21 years old that have an I-526 application that was filed before September 1, 2013 and approved after May 1, 2015, when retrogression began. As a reminder, it is important under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) to pay for children’s fee bills as soon as possible in an effort to “freeze” their age. Although one may wait for the fee bill(s) to be issued, the most cost-effective and less timely method is payment of the visa fee bill by cashier’s check as soon as an I-526 petition approval notice is received.
There was movement in the other employment-based categories as well. Specifically, the EB-2 category for China advanced four months; the EB-3 category for India advanced by a few days; and the EB-3 category for “All Other Countries” advanced a month and a half. Below is the DOS July visa bulletin table for further reference: