January 2018 Visa Bulletin: Slight Movement

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) finally released the January 2018 Visa Bulletin this morning. Unsurprisingly, there is not much progress in the oversubscribed categories from the previous month’s visa bulletin. There was no change at all in the dates for filing (DF) chart from last month, so only the final action (FA) chart is discussed here.

Overview of Movement in Employment-Based Categories

Employment-Based, First Preference (EB1)

The employment-based, first preference (EB1) category remains current for all countries of chargeability.

Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2)

The cutoff date for India in the employment-based, second preference (EB2) category moves forward by three weeks, to November 22, 2008. EB2 China moves ahead by about five weeks, to a new cutoff date of August 8, 2013.

Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3)

In the employment-based, third preference (EB3) category, India’s cutoff date is nudged forward by two weeks, to November 1, 2006. Prior to this, EB3 India’s cutoff date had not moved at all since the September 2017 Visa Bulletin. EB3 China advances by more than a month, to April 15, 2014.

The cutoff dates for the EB3 other workers category match those of the standard EB3 category for all countries, except China. EB3 other workers for China jumps ahead by over five months, to a new cutoff date of December 22, 2006.

Employment-Based, Fourth Preference (EB4)

In the employment-based, fourth preference (EB4) category, not including those for certain religious workers, the cutoff date remains current for all countries, except for Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. EB4 Mexico’s cutoff date advances by five weeks, to June 1, 2016. The cutoff date for the other three countries moves ahead by two weeks, to December 1, 2015.

Employment-Based, Fifth Preference (EB5)

For non-regional center filings in the employment-based, fifth preference (EB5) category, the cutoff date for China inches forward by one week, to July 22, 2014. The cutoff date for EB5 non-regional center cases for all other countries of chargeability remains current.

EB4 Certain Religious Workers and EB5 Regional Center Presently Listed as “Unavailable”

For the January 2018 Visa Bulletin, EB4 for certain religious workers and the EB5 category for regional center cases is listed as unavailable. This is because both categories are scheduled to expire on December 23, 2017. Both programs are routinely extended each time a government-funding bill is passed. Assuming a government shutdown is again avoided, the hope is that these programs will be extended. If they are extended, the cutoff dates in January for certain religious workers will match those of the standard EB4 category; similarly, upon an extension of the program, the cutoff date for regional center cases will match those of non-regional center cases.


More information on projected movement in the visa bulletin will be posted as the information becomes available. Subscribe to the free MurthyBulletin for future updates.


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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.