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August 2019 Visa Bulletin – Significant Retrogression in numerous visas categories

Written by: Ashik Jahan, Esq. and Dorthea Hockel

The U.S. Department of State has recently released the new Visa Bulletin for August 2019, which shows a substantial retrogression in family and employment based categories.

The most noticeable change in the Final Action Dates can be seen in the employment-based (EB) categories. The EB-3 worldwide category will retrogress to July 1, 2016, and for applicants born in India it will retrogress to January 1, 2006. All other employment based categories are affected by cut-off dates that go back anywhere from six months to three years (see https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-for-august-2019.html). The listing of a date for any of the categories in the chart means that only applicants with a priority date earlier than the date listed may file and submit their application for Adjustment of Status or be issued an immigrant visa by a U.S. Consulate abroad. Many applicants who were current (“C”) in July, will no longer be current in August 2019. The consequence is that applicants who are planning to file an I-485, Adjustment of Status, must act quickly to file the application before August. Applicants with a pending I-485 who fall under the time changes in August will also have to wait until their priority dates again become current.

According to the U.S. Department of State, the significant retrogression times (2-3 years) are an outcome of the steadily increasing level of employment based adjustment of status cases filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The service believes this retrogression “will help ensure that the maximum number of immigrant visas are issued annually as intended by the Congress (…).” The U.S. Department of State points out that this retrogression should be temporary, as every effort will be made to return the Final Action Dates back to where they were on the July Visa Bulletin (see https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2019/visa-bulletin-for-july-2019.html) by the start of the next fiscal year in October 2019.

Should you have any questions about visa retrogression, immigrant visas or adjustment of status applications, please contact Ashik Jahan at ajahan@hallboothsmith.com or (404) 954-6971.