October, 2015 Visa Bulletin Revised: Some Filing Dates Retrogress

On September 25, 2015, the Department of State (“DOS”) revised its October, 2015 Visa Bulletin resulting in greater delays in Dates of Filing for EB-2s for China and India, and EB-3s for the Philippines. F1s and F3s for Mexico are similarly affected.

On September 9, 2015, DOS issued its Visa Bulletin for October, 2015, containing a new feature called Date of Filing. The Date of Filing sets out when an applicant in the United States may file for adjustment of status in the family and employment based categories. This addition represents an major benefit for those immigrants whose categories are severely backlogged. Immigrants and their immediate family members with a current Date of Filing can file for adjustment of status, and can seek employment authorization and travel permission as ancillary benefits sooner than their Priority Date now renamed Final Action Date. The inclusion of a Date of Filing in the Visa Bulletin has generated much excitement especially in immigrants whose categories have long wait times.

But the September, 25, 2015 revisions to the October, 2015 Visa Bulletin made the following specific Date of Filing changes: EB-2s for China retrogressed from May 1, 2014 to January 1, 2013, EB-2s for India retrogressed from July 1, 2011 to July 1, 2009, and EB-3s for the Philippines retrogressed from January 1, 2015 to January 1, 2010. F1s for Mexico retrogressed from July 1, 1995 to April 1, 1995, and F3s for Mexico retrogressed from October 1, 1996 to May 1, 1995. The retrogressions have disappointed many immigrants.

The revision resulted after further discussions between DOS and the Department of Homeland Security. According to DOS, “…the Dates for Filing Applications for some categories in the Family-Sponsored and Employment-Based preferences have been adjusted to better reflect a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process…”

DHS has advised that it will rely on the revised October, 2015 Visa Bulletin in determining when an applicant becomes eligible to file for adjustment.