Overview of November 2016 Visa Bulletin

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) released the November 2016 Visa Bulletin. There is no change in the dates-for-filing (DF) chart from the October 2016 Visa Bulletin. In the final action (FA) chart, the cutoff dates in the employment-based, second preference (EB2) category for India and China continue to rebound from the retrogression that occurred in June 2016. There is far less movement, however, in the employment-based, third-preference category, especially for India. Meanwhile, the employment-based, fifth preference (EB5) category returns to being current for all countries of chargeability other than China.

Visa Bulletin Summary

Employment-Based, First Preferences (EB1)

As expected, this category remains current for all countries of chargeability.

Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2)

EB2 India moves ahead by nearly ten months, to a new cutoff date of November 1, 2007. The cutoff date for EB2 China advances by five months, to July 15, 2012. EB2 is current for all other countries of chargeability.

Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3)

The cutoff date for EB3 India only moves ahead by a week, to March 8, 2005. EB3 China fares better, with forward movement of nearly three months, to April 15, 2013. EB3 for the Philippines advances by four months, to April 1, 2011.

Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3) Other Workers

With the exception of China, the cutoff dates for EB3 other workers continue to match the general EB3 cutoff dates. EB3 other workers for China moves up by eight months, to a new cutoff date of September 1, 2005.

Employment-Based, Fourth Preference (EB4)

The EB4 category for certain religious workers was listed as ‘unavailable’ for all countries of chargeability in the October 2016 Visa Bulletin, because the program had been scheduled to sunset (i.e. expire) on October 1, 2016. Prior to the sunset date, however, the program was extended through December 9, 2016, so this category is current in the November 2016 Visa Bulletin for all countries of chargeability, with the exception of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. For these three countries, the cutoff date is set at July 15, 2015. The cutoff dates for certain religious workers under EB4 match those for all other types of EB4 cases.

Employment-Based, Fifth Preference (EB5)

The regional center program for the EB5 category also was scheduled to sunset on October 1, 2016, leading to its being unavailable for the month of October. This program, too, was extended through December 9, 2016, so the EB5 category for both regional center and non-regional center cases is current in November 2016 for all countries of chargeability other than China. EB5 China has a cutoff date of March 8, 2014.


While EB2 India and, to a lesser extent, EB2 China remain severely retrogressed, the forward movement in November is better than had been projected. It remains to be seen whether this will continue in the coming months. Subscribe to the free MurthyBulletin for future updates on the monthly visa bulletin and other matters related to immigration law.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.