September 2018 Visa Bulletin: Significant Retrogression as Fiscal Year 2018 Winds Down

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has published the latest visa bulletin. Notably, with fiscal year 2018 ending next month, cut-off dates for most employment-based visa categories are slated to retrogress in September. Priority date cut-offs have been imposed on both EB-2 and EB-3 categories for countries whose dates were current as of August. While significant, this end-of-year trend is hardly surprising, as the statutory number of visas available per year tends to be depleted before being replenished in October, the start of the fiscal year.
Final action dates for employment-based preference petitions are as follows:

  • The EB-1 category is still no longer current for any foreign national. For mainland-Chinese and Indian petitioners, the cut-off dates remain January 1, 2012—which has been unchanged since April 2018.
  • In the EB-2 category, which is not current for any country, the cut-off date for nationals born in mainland China has retrogressed more than two years, from March 1, 2015, last month to January 1, 2013. The cut-off date for Indian nationals has retrogressed by the same amount of time: from March 15, 2009, last month to January 1, 2007.
  • In the EB-3 category, which likewise has no visa numbers available for any foreign national, the cut-off date for China-mainland has advanced four months to November 1, 2014, this month. The cut-off date for Indian nationals has lurched backward by six years: January 1, 2003.
  • In the EB-5 category, the cut-off date for nationals from mainland China remains August 1, 2014. EB-5 visa numbers are available to all nationals, aside from applicants from China and Vietnam. 

Filing dates for employment-based preference petitions are as follows:

  • The EB-1 category remains current for all chargeability areas.
  • In the EB-2 category, the cut-off dates for China-mainland and Indian nationals will remain the same as last month: April 1, 2015, and May 22, 2009, respectively.
  • In the EB-3 category, the filing dates for aliens from mainland China and India remain January 1, 2016, and May 1, 2009, respectively.
  • In the EB-5 category, the cut-off date for nationals born in mainland China is likewise unchanged, remaining at October 1, 2014

Our Thoughts

If you believe you qualify for a National Interest Waiver (NIW) but are not sure if you’re as strong a candidate for an EB-1, we recommend starting your NIW application as soon as possible. In general, we encourage our clients to file NIW applications (provided they meet the requirements). Our attorneys have a strong track record of winning approvals: since 2008, Zhang & Associates has helped nearly 3,000 foreign nationals obtain NIWs. 

After you successfully apply for an NIW, and thereafter continue to garner achievements in your field, you may want to consider applying in the first-preference category. Our firm is here to help: since 2012, our attorneys have assisted more than 1,100 clients obtain EB-1 visas. 

Before you start the application process, it’s imperative that you consult with experienced immigration attorneys. If you’re interested in filing an NIW, EB-1, or any other employment-based visa application, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Former U.S. Consular officer, Attorney Sechyi Laiu joined Zhang & Associates, P.C. on June 26, 2017

At Zhang & Associates, P.C., Attorney Laiu specializes on Consular Processing cases and business development. Attorney Laiu also focuses on TN visas, E visas, CBP administrative proceedings (monetary confiscation, deferred inspection), and overseas financial compliance.

Prior to joining Zhang & Associates, P.C., Attorney Laiu worked for the U.S. Department of State as a Chinese and Portuguese speaking diplomat. As a consular-coned officer who served in Vancouver (Canada), Shenyang (P.R. China), and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Attorney Laiu processed over 30,000 visa cases and worked in every section of Consular Affairs overseas (Fraud Prevention Unit, Immigrant Visas, Non-Immigrant Visas, and American Citizen Services).

He will use his experience and expertise to deliver the highest quality of service to our clients.

Founded in 1996, Zhang & Associates, P.C. offers legal services to clients worldwide in all aspects of U.S immigration law. We have successfully handled over ten thousand immigration cases.

At Zhang & Associates, P.C., our attorneys and supporting professionals are committed to providing high-quality immigration and non-immigration visa services. We specialize in NIW, EB-1, EB-5, PERM, I-485 I-130, H-1B, O, L and J cases. In the past twenty-two years, we have successfully helped over ten thousand clients get green cards. If you plan to apply for a green card, please send your CV to Attorney Jerry Zhang ( for a free evaluation.

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