Impact of May 2016 Visa Bulletin from U.S. Department of State
Contributor: Van T. Doan
The Visa Bulletin issued by the U.S. Department of State for May 2016 gives a final action date of January 1, 2010 for Employment-Based Fourth Preference Visas for special immigrants from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Special immigrants are those individuals who, based on certain specific classifications, may be eligible for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. This group includes Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJ).
The effect of this announcement is that beginning in May 2016, applicants from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras who filed a Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er) or Special Immigrant (Form I-360) on after the final action date will be unable to get an immigrant visa or an adjustment of status until such time as new visas are available.
All of these countries have reached the Congressionally mandated EB-4 visa limits for fiscal year 2016, which ends on September 30, 2016. In September, the October Visa Bulletin will be published, containing information about EB-4 visa availability for fiscal year 2017.
How EB-4 Applicants from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are Affected
Because there is no annual limit on Form I-360 petitions that the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) may approve, petitioners from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador may continue to file this form.
In addition, USCIS will continue to accept Applications to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485) under the EB-4 Classification, but only until April 30, 2016. USCIS will process and render decisions on Form I-485 applications only if applicants have filed a Form I-360 prior to January 1, 2010, and that Form I-360 is ultimately accepted.
Applicants who are eligible are urged to file Form I-360, I-485, BEFORE, before April 30, 2016. This will enable the applicant to file Form I-765 and obtain work authorization, even while Form I-485 is pending.
For filers of Form I-485 who file under the EB-4 classification after April 30, 2016, USCIS will only process and decide on the Form I-485 only if the Form I-360 was filed prior to January 1, 2010. USCIS will reject and return Form I-485 applications that do not meet these criteria. However, they will continue to process Form I-360 petitions, even if they were submitted with a Form I-485 that was rejected.
Help from an Experienced Maryland Immigration Law Attorney
If you or a loved one is affected by the May 2016 Visa Bulletin, or if you have questions regarding EB-4 employment-based visas or priority dates, contact Howard County, MD immigration lawyer Van T. Doan. Time is of the essence, and even a few days' delay could make a significant difference in your situation. We look forward to working with you.