The Visa Bulletin is released monthly by the Department of State and is used to determine when a sponsored foreign national can submit the final step of the green card process.

Below is a summary of the December 2016 Visa Bulletin, including Final Action Dates and changes from the previous month:

  • China continues to move forward at a slow pace, and the EB-3 cut-off date (July 1, 2013) remains ahead of the EB-2 date (September 22, 2012)
  • India EB-2 jumps ahead three months to February 1, 2008, while EB-3 only advances one week to March 15, 2005
  • Philippines EB-3 advances two months to June 1, 2011
  • Worldwide EB-3 remains stalled at July 1, 2016.

The December Visa Bulletin includes the following important projections for future movement:

  • China and India EB-1 will most likely have a cut-off date “at some point” during the fiscal year
  • India EB-3 will move forward slowly and sporadically (i.e. move forward one week, then hold for a number of months, then move forward one week, then hold, repeat until end of fiscal year)
  • Worldwide EB-2 will “likely” have a cut-off date by July
  • Worldwide EB-3 is not expected to move forward in January

11/15 UPDATE: In December, USCIS will honor the Department of State’s “Dates for Filing” chart for Employment-Based First through Fourth Preference Cases.  This means that applicants can submit the final step of the green card process, the Adjustment of Status application, based on the later cut-off dates of the “Dates for Filing” chart.

This announcement is most beneficial to Worldwide EB-3 applicants who had become used to a nearly current “Final Action” date that has stalled this fiscal year, with no future forward movement expected in the coming months.  Applicants who submit I-485 applications based on the “Date for Filing” chart can receive the underlying benefits of Adjustment of Status, including work and travel documents.  However, I-485 applications will not be approved until the applicant’s priority date reaches the date listed in the “Final Action” chart.