February 2018 Visa Bulletin: Slight Movement, Short-Term Predictions

The February 2018 Visa Bulletin was released by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) this afternoon. China sees some slightly faster-than-expected movement in the employment-based categories, but the rest is largely in line with previous predictions. This upcoming visa bulletin also includes some predictions for cutoff date movement in the coming months. All movement discussed here refers to the final action (FA) chart.

Overview of Movement in Employment-Based Categories

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

The cutoff date for India in the employment-based, second preference (EB2) category moves ahead by about two weeks, to December 8, 2008. EB2 China advances by almost two months, to a new cutoff date of October 1, 2013.

In the employment-based, third preference (EB3) category, the cutoff date for India moves forward by one month, to December 1, 2006. EB3 China races ahead by five months, to September 15, 2014. EB3 Philippines advances by two weeks, to March 1, 2016.

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 advances by about five weeks, to February 1, 2007.

In the employment-based, fourth preference (EB4) category, not including those for certain religious workers, the cutoff date remains current for all countries, except Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. EB4 Mexico’s cutoff date advances by three weeks, to June 22, 2016. The cutoff date for the other three countries remains stationary, at December 1, 2015.

For non-regional center filings in the employment-based, fifth preference (EB5) category, the cutoff date for China holds steady at 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”

Similar to the January 2018 Visa Bulletin, in February 2018, EB4 for certain religious workers and the EB5 category for regional center cases are listed as unavailable. This is because both categories are scheduled to expire on midnight of January 19, 2018. 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 February 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.

Predictions for Family-Based and Employment-Based Categories

The following are predictions for monthly movement in the visa bulletin through April and May 2018. See the MurthyDotCom InfoArticle, Family-Based Immigration Simplified (07.Jun.2017) for a breakdown of who is covered under each family-based category.

  • Family-Based, First Preference (FB1): Up to one month
  • Family-Based, Second Preference (FB2) “A”: Three-to-five weeks
  • Family-Based, Second Preference (FB2) “B”: Three-to-six weeks
  • Family-Based, Third Preference (FB3): Up to five weeks
  • Family-Based, Fourth Preference (FB4): Up to three weeks
  • EB1: Will remain current for all countries for the next several months
  • EB2 China: Several months
  • EB2 India: Up to two weeks
  • EB3 China: Up to five months
  • EB3 India: One-to-three months
  • EB3 Philippines: Up to one month
  • EB4 El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras: Up to three weeks
  • EB4 Mexico: “Some forward movement”
  • EB5 China: Little-to-no forward movement
  • EB5 Vietnam: Will be subject to a final action date by April 2018, which will mirror the cutoff date of EB5 China


If any additional predictions are made regarding movement in the monthly visa bulletin, the information will be posted on MurthyDotCom. 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.