State Dept. Discusses Visa Availability in the Coming Months
This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Laura Danielson is an active member.
The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for March 2018 discusses visa availability in the coming months in several categories.
Special Immigrant Translator Category
Given the limited availability of visa numbers and the existing demand, the Department said it expects to reach the FY 2018 annual limit of 50 Special Immigrant Visas in the SI category early this year. As a result, it has been necessary to maintain a March Final Action Date of April 22, 2012. It is likely that number use will require the SI category to become unavailable in the coming months. Once the annual limit of 50 visas is reached, further issuances in the SI category will not be possible until October 2018, under the FY 2019 annual limit. The SQ Special Immigrant Visa category for certain Iraqi and Afghan nationals employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq or Afghanistan is not affected and remains current.
Vietnam Employment Fifth Preference Category
Continued heavy applicant demand is expected to result in the Vietnam Employment Fifth preference category reaching the per-country annual limit during March, the Department said. Once this happens, the category will become subject to a final action date, and visa availability for the remainder of FY 2018 will depend on the extent to which otherwise unused numbers are available.
Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers Category
Pursuant to the continuing resolution, signed on February 9, 2018, the non-minister special immigrant program expires on March 23, 2018. No SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after midnight March 22, 2018, the Department noted. Visas issued before this date will have a validity date of March 22, 2018, and all individuals seeking admission as non-minister special immigrants must be admitted into the United States by midnight March 22, 2018. If there is no legislative action extending this category for FY 2018, the final action date would immediately become unavailable for March for all countries, the Department said.
Employment Fifth Preference Categories (I5 and R5)
The continuing resolution signed on February 9, 2018, extended this immigrant investor pilot program until March 23, 2018. The I5 and R5 visas may be issued until the close of business on March 23, 2018, and may be issued for the full validity period, the Department said. No I5 or R5 visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after March 23, 2018. If there is no legislative action extending this category for FY 2018, the final action date would immediately become unavailable for March for all countries, the Department said.