The U.S. Department of State has released its September 2023 Visa Bulletin imposing per-country cut-off dates that regulate immigrant visa availability and the flow of Adjustment of Status (AOS) applications and consular Immigrant Visa application filings and approvals. In order to be “current,” the priority date held by a person applying for permanent residence must be before the cut-off date specified in the monthly Visa Bulletin.
To be eligible to file an Employment-Based (EB) AOS application, a foreign national must have a priority date that is earlier than the date listed below for their preference category and country of chargeability. The “C” listing indicates that the category is current and applications may be filed with any priority date.
The September 2023 Visa Bulletin maintains the significant backlog in the EB-1 India classification that occurred last month, with no forward movement in this category. The India EB-1 cut-off date remains at January 1, 2012, a date that is nearly 10 years earlier than the February 1, 2022 cut-off date in the July Visa Bulletin. The cut-off dates for all other EB-1 categories also remain unchanged from last month with EB-1 China maintaining a cut-off date of February 1, 2022 and EB-1 Rest of the World, Mexico, and Philippines cut-off dates staying steady at August 1, 2023. The Rest of the World, Mexico, and Philippines EB-2 classifications show slight advancement to July 1, 2022, while EB-2 India continues to maintain a cut-off date of January 1, 2011. All EB-3 categories remain backlogged, with the EB-3 category for China experiencing modest forward movement to September 1, 2019. No EB category will retrogress in September.
Final Action Dates Chart Will Control in September 2023
The Visa Bulletin includes both a Dates for Filing chart and a Final Action Dates chart. The Final Action Dates chart indicates when a priority date is current and I-485 AOS applications or Immigrant Visa applications may be approved and permanent residence granted. The Dates for Filing chart, when followed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), indicates when intending immigrants may file their AOS applications with USCIS.
Each month, USCIS chooses to either follow the Final Action or the Dates for Filing chart. For September 2023, the USCIS will follow the Final Action Dates chart for Employment-Based AOS application filings. Thus, those seeking to file applications for AOS with the USCIS in September 2023 must use the Final Action Dates chart shown below.
September is the last month in the State Department’s fiscal year and the agency notes that most employment-based preference category limits and/or the overall employment-based preference limit for the 2023 fiscal year will be reached in September. It is likely, however, that the cut-off dates will advance in the October 2023 Visa Bulletin (when FY2024 immigrant visa numbers become available). In particular, it is anticipated that the EB-1 cut-off date for India will move forward and that the EB-1 category will become current for the Rest of the World, Mexico, and Philippines in October.
The attorneys of Tafapolsky & Smith LLP will monitor and analyze all developments affecting immigrant visa availability, including all statements made by DOS officers before the publication of the relevant Visa Bulletin and will provide immediate updates on any significant developments.