Employment-Based Immigrant Visa Availability
In the monthly Visa Bulletin, the U.S. Department of State announced that employment-based (EB) immigrant visas in the following categories are available subject to priority date cut-offs during the following months:
Beneficiaries with priority dates earlier than the stated date in the field for their applicable EB category and country of birth may file Form I-485 adjustment of status applications with USCIS in November:
Beneficiaries with priority dates earlier than the stated date
in the field for their applicable EB category and country of birth
may file Form I-485 adjustment of status applications with USCIS in October:
What is a priority date?
It is the date on which your permanent labor certification application was received by the U.S. Department of Labor. Alternatively, if you did not have a labor certification application filed for you, your priority date is the date your I-140 petition was received by USCIS.
What if I was born in China/India, but am now a citizen of another country?
Visa numbers are based on your country of birth, regardless of your current citizenship. However, if your spouse was born in another country that is not subject to the backlog at this time, you can "cross-charge" your I-485 application to your spouse’s country (this is known as "alternate chargeability").
What if my I-485 is already pending with USCIS?
If you already have a pending I-485 application with USCIS, you will continue to be able to apply for and/or to renew your work and travel permits while the backlog continues.
What if my labor certification application is still pending?
You must wait until the labor certification application is approved to be able to file your I-140 and I-485. After the labor certification application is approved, you may be ableto file your I-485 concurrently with the I-140 if your priority date is current at that time. Also see next question below.
What if I'm about to reach the 6-year maximum in H-1B status?
If your labor certification application or your Form I-140 immigrant petition was filed at least 365 days prior to the end of your sixth year in H-1B status, UH can extend your H-1B status for one year at a time beyond the normal 6-year maximum in H-1B status.
You may also be eligible for extensions beyond the sixth year if your I-140 has been approved, but your priority date isn't current yet. In these cases, UH has the option of requesting further extensions in 3-year increments.
Will these backlog dates change?
Yes, they will eventually change. It is possible that they may move ahead or backlog even further. To stay informed about the dates, check the monthly Visa Bulletin published by the Department of State.
[Sources: C. Burke, NAFSA:AIE; DOS Visa Bulletin]