May Visa Bulletin Sets Final Action Date for EB-4 Visas for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras Special Immigrants
The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for May 2016 reflects a final action date of January 1, 2010, for EB-4 visas for special immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. This means that starting in May, an applicant from any of these countries who filed a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant on or after January 1, 2010, will not be able to obtain an immigrant visa or adjust status until new visas become available. The final action date became effective upon publication of the May Visa Bulletin on April 12.
The Visa Bulletin explains that these three countries have already reached their EB-4 visa limits as congressionally mandated for fiscal year 2016, which ends September 30. Information on EB-4 visa availability for fiscal year 2017 for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras will appear in the October Visa Bulletin (to be published in mid-September).
Petitioners from any country, including El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, may continue to file Forms I-360. There is no annual limit on the number of I-360 petitions that USCIS may approve.
The Department said it will accept all properly filed submissions of Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, under the EB-4 classification until April 30, 2016. USCIS noted:
- We will process and make a decision on your Form I-485 application only if you have a Form I-360 filed before January 1, 2010, that is ultimately approved.
- If you have a pending Form I-360 filed on or after January 1, 2010, we will process and make a decision on your Form I-360 but withhold a decision to approve your Form I-485 application pending availability of an EB-4 visa.
The Department also stated:
If you file Form I-485 under the EB-4 classification after April 30, 2016:
- We will process and make a decision on your Form I-485 only if you filed your Form I-360 petition before January 1, 2010, and your Form I-360 is ultimately approved.
- We will reject and return other Form I-485 applications but will continue to process Form I-360 petitions (even if submitted together with a Form I-485 that gets rejected).
The May 2016 Visa Bulletin is at https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin/2016/visa-bulletin-for-may-2016.html. Information on final action dates is at https://www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo.