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US Visa Bulletin for March 2016 Benefits Chinese

The US Department of State (DoS) published its monthly visa bulletin in February. The Visa Bulletin showed a movement in dates across the EB-3 and EB-5 visa categories, allowing for earlier processing of immigrant visas in some cases. These dates are used to determine when certain immigrants may file employment-based visa petitions, other immigrant visas, and when an immigration visa can be approved by adjustment of status or visa consular processing from outside the US.

The Chinese are the main beneficiaries of the March US visa bulletin, with EB-3 China advancing from October 1, 2013 to May 1, 2015, which makes the native Chinese EB-3 and EB-5 dates identical. In contrast to February's bulletin, the March issue shows a moderate advance in the 'final action dates' for employment-based applications.

The March US visa bulletin explained

The US Visa Bulletin for March 2016 shows charts containing dates for filing visa applications and application final action dates. The 'dates for filing visa applications' chart specifies when intending immigrants can file an application for adjustment of status or file for an immigrant visa via consular processing.

The 'application final action dates' chart shows when an adjustment of status or immigrant visa application from overseas could be approved, and permanent residence actually granted.

Should US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) establish that there are excess immigrant visas available for a fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, this will be specified on their website and applicants will be instructed to use the 'dates for filing visa applications' chart.

Otherwise, applicants will be directed to use the 'application final action dates' chart to establish when applicants can file and complete an adjustment of status visa application.

The application final action dates for employment-based preference cases for March 2016 are (C means current which means theoretically the immigrants visa can be finalised immediately):

Employment- basedAll Chargeability Areas Except Those ListedChina - Mainland BornIndiaMexicoPhilippines
1stCCCCC
2ndC01AUG1215OCT08CC
3rd01JAN1601JUN1315JUL0401JAN1615MAR08
Other Workers01JAN1601FEB0715JUL0401JAN1615MAR08
4thCCCCC
Certain Religious WorkersCCCCC
5th Non-Regional Center (C5 and T5)C22JAN14CCC
5th Regional Center (I5 and R5)C22JAN14CCC

The dates for the filing of employment-based visa applications are:

Employment- basedAll Chargeability Areas Except Those ListedChina - Mainland BornIndiaMexicoPhilippines
1stCCCCC
2ndC01JUN1301JUL09CC
3rdC01MAY1515JUL05C
01JAN10
Other Workers01JAN1601AUG0715JUL0501JAN1601JAN10
4thCCCCC
Certain Religious WorkersCCCCC
5th Non-Regional Center (C5 and T5)C01MAY15CCC
5th Regional Center (I5 and R5)C01MAY15CCC

Further projections of Employment Based immigrant visa availability

EB-1 visa: Expected to remain current

EB-2 visa:

  • Worldwide: Expected to remain current

  • China: Movement up to five months

  • India: Movement up to three months

EB-3 visa

  • Worldwide: There will be increased demand as a result of recent forward movement. Once demand is established, a cut-off date will need to be determined

  • China: Movement up to five months

  • India: Movement up to one month

  • Mexico: To remain at worldwide date

  • Philippines: Movement of up to four months

EB-4: Current 'for the majority of countries'

EB-5:

  • Current for all countries barring China

  • China: Slow advanced movement