October 2018 Visa Bulletin: Recovery from August’s Retrogression

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has released the October 2018 Visa Bulletin. This is the first visa bulletin for fiscal year 2019 (FY19), and reflects recovery from the retrogression that occurred in the August 2018 Visa Bulletin.

Employment-Based, First Preference (EB1) Category

The cutoff dates for EB1 India and China moves forward to June 1, 2016. For all other countries of chargeability, EB1 advances to April 1, 2017. As predicted, the EB1 category will not return to being current in October, which has been the case in recent years.

Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2) Category

In October, EB2 India recovers from the retrogression that occurred in August, moving forward to March 26, 2009. This is bit beyond the March 15, 2009 cutoff date this category had back in the July 2018 Visa Bulletin. EB2 China also moves forward to April 1, 2015. For all other countries of chargeability, this category moves to a current cutoff date.

Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3) Category

EB3 India advances to a January 1, 2009 cutoff date. This is several months beyond the November 1, 2008 cutoff date where this category was in July. EB3 China also moves forward to a date of June 1, 2015, while EB3 Philippines moves up to June 1, 2017. EB3 will be current for all other countries of chargeability in October.

EB3 Other Workers

With the exception of China, the cutoff dates for EB3 other workers are the same for each country as their respective EB3 cutoff date. For China, the cutoff date for EB3 other workers is May 1, 2007.

Employment-Based, Fourth Preference (EB4) Category

In the EB4 category, not including those for certain religious workers, EB4 Mexico moves forward to October 22, 2016. EB4 El Salvador / Guatemala / Honduras remains at February, 15 2016. For all other countries of chargeability, the EB4 cutoff date is current.

Employment-Based, Fifth Preference (EB5) Category

For non-regional center filings, the EB5 category remains current for all countries of chargeability, with the exception of China and Vietnam. EB5 China barely moves forward to an August 15, 2014 cutoff date. EB5 Vietnam advances to January 1, 2016.

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

Similar to the April 2018 Visa Bulletin, 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 September 30, 2018. Both programs are routinely extended each time a government-funding bill is passed. Assuming a government shutdown again is avoided, the expectation is that these programs will be extended. Assuming they are extended, the cutoff dates in the October 2018 Visa Bulletin 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.


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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.