Connecticut, US

Nov 18 2019

December 2019 Visa Bulletin: EB-1 Advances, Except India; More Retrogression Possible in January

United States

At a glance 

  • All EB-1 countries except for China and India will advance by six weeks to July 15, 2018. China will advance by three and a half months to May 15, 2017, while India will remain at January 1, 2015.
  • EB-2 China will advance by more than three months to June 22, 2015.
  • EB-3 China and India will remain the same in December.
  • Current categories in EB-2 and EB-3 could retrogress as early as January 2020.

A closer look 

According to the State Department’s December Visa Bulletin, cutoff dates for issuance of an immigrant visa will be as follows: 

  • EB-1: All countries except for China and India will advance by six weeks to July 15, 2018. China will advance by three and a half months to May 15, 2017. India will remain at January 1, 2015.
  • EB-2: China will advance by more than three months to June 22, 2015, while India will advance by two days, to May 15, 2009. All other countries will remain current.
  • EB-3 Professional and Skilled Workers: China and India will remain at November 1, 2015 and January 1, 2009, respectively. The Philippines will advance by one month to March 1, 2018. All remaining countries will remain current.
  • EB-5 Non-Regional Center Program: Most countries will remain current. China will advance by two weeks to November 15, 2014; India will advance by three weeks to January 1, 2018; and Vietnam will advance by two weeks to December 1, 2016.
  • EB-5 Regional Center Program: As discussed below, the Regional Center program is set to expire on November 21, 2019. Though reauthorization of the program is expected, if Congress allows it to lapse, this category will become unavailable in December. If reauthorized, the Regional Center cut-off dates will match the Non-Regional Center dates.



In the coming days, USCIS is expected to announce on its own Visa Bulletin web page the cutoff dates for acceptance of adjustment of status applications next month. It is not yet known whether USCIS will again accept adjustment applications based on the Dates for Filing chart, rather than the Final Action chart, as it has done for the last two months.

The December Dates for Filing chart makes EB-1 current for all countries except India and China, and advances EB-5 China by four months. Other cutoff dates in the Dates for Filing chart, which are more favorable than the Final Action dates, remain unchanged from last month.

Impact of possible program expirations

The EB-4 Non-Minister Religious Worker and EB-5 Regional Center programs are set to expire on November 21, 2019. Congress is expected to pass a temporary reauthorization, through December 20, 2019, while it continues to negotiate the FY 2020 federal budget. If Congress does not reauthorize these programs or pass a temporary spending and extension measure, immigrant visas in the EB-4 Non-Minister Religious Worker category will become unavailable on November 21, 2019, and those in the EB-5 Regional Center category will become unavailable on November 22, 2019. The EB-5 Non-Regional Center program will not be affected.

If an extension is passed, these categories will follow the cut-off dates listed below in December. 

Immigrant visa availability in the coming months

In the December Bulletin, the State Department notes that employment-based adjustment of status filings have steadily increased in recent weeks, warning that if this demand continues, Final Action Dates may be established as early as January 2020 for EB-2 and EB-3 categories that were previously current. In addition, if this demand continues, EB-1 will remain retrogressed in January. The State Department has previously stated it does not expect EB-1 Worldwide to become current before April 2020.

FINAL ACTION CUT-OFF DATES FOR DECEMBER 2019 

EB-1 

India: January 1, 2015

China: May 15, 2017

All other countries: July 15, 2018

EB-2  

China: June 22, 2015

India: May 15, 2009

All other countries: Current

EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers  

China: November 1, 2015

India: January 1, 2009

Philippines: March 1, 2018

All other countries: Current

EB-3 Other Workers  

China: March 1, 2008

India: January 1, 2009

Philippines: March 1, 2018

All other countries: Current

EB-4* 

El Salvador, Guatemala Honduras: July 1, 2016

Mexico: July 22, 2017

All other countries: Current

*Non-minister special immigrant religious worker program will be unavailable unless reauthorized by legislation. If reauthorized, it will match the above dates.

EB-5* 

China: November 15, 2014 

Vietnam: December 1, 2016

India: January 1, 2018

All other countries: Current 

*Regional Center program will be unavailable unless reauthorized by legislation. If reauthorized, it will match the above dates.

DATES FOR FILING CUT-OFF DATES FOR DECEMBER 2019 

EB-1  

China: September 1, 2017 

India: March 15, 2017

All other countries: Current

EB-2  

China: August 1, 2016

India: July 1, 2009 

All other countries: Current  

EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers  

China: March 1, 2017

India: February 1, 2010

All other countries: Current 

EB-3 Other Workers  

China: August 1, 2008

India: February 1, 2010

All other countries: Current 

EB-4 

El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras: August 15, 2016

All other countries: Current 

EB-5  

China: May 15, 2015

All other countries: Current  

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.