Big Changes in January 2024 Visa Bulletin - Why Now?

by Alan Lee, Esq.

October marks the beginning of the government fiscal year, in years past signaling a new year of visa numbers. August and September were generally “dead” months as we eagerly awaited the new visa allocations of October. Now after minimal bulletin changes from October-December, we get a visa bulletin chock-full of changes. Why? Have Visa Office operations changed so much that significant date changes must wait until the second quarter of the fiscal year?

That being said, the January visa bulletin is designed to bring smiles to the faces of many as there are no retrogressions, only advances.

Family-based final action dates: F-1 (adult single sons and daughters of US citizens) remained the same for ROW (Rest of the World) at 1/1/15 while Mexico and the Philippines remained at 5/1/01 and 3/1/12 respectively; F-2A (spouses and children under the age of 21 and unmarried of LPRs) advanced almost 9 months to 11/1/19 for all countries except Mexico which advanced 8 ½ months to 10/22/19; F-2B (adult single sons and daughters of LPRs) one week for ROW to 10/1/15 and the big jump was Mexico advancing 17 months three weeks to 10/22/03 while the Philippines remained at 10/22/11; F-3 (adult sons and daughters of USCs) up 3 ½ months to 4/22/09 for ROW and Mexico advanced 5 months 2 weeks to 9/8/98 and the Philippines remained at 6/8/02; and F-4 (siblings of USCs) ROW moved one month to 5/22/07, India advanced one month one week to 11/15/05, Mexico stayed at 9/15/00, and the Philippines moved one month three weeks to 10/15/02.

Family-based dates for filing: No changes.

Employment based final action dates: EB-1 (extraordinary aliens, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational executives and managers) stayed current for ROW with China advancing four months three weeks to 7/1/22 and India three years nine months to 9/1/20; EB-2 (advanced degree holders or exceptional aliens) ROW advanced three months two weeks to 11/1/22 with China being up two months one week to 1/1/20 and India two months to 3/1/12; EB-3 (professionals or skilled workers) ROW moved up nine months to 8/1/22 with China advancing eight months one week to 9/1/20 and India one month to 6/1/12; EW-3 other workers (unskilled) ROW advanced one month to 9/1/20 and China one year to 1/1/17 and India one month to 6/1/12; both categories of EB-4 (religious) moved to 5/15/19 for all countries, representing an advance of four months two weeks for clergy and the reopening of the category from unavailable for certain religious workers because of passed legislation; EB-5 ROW (immigrant investors) remained current with China advancing two months one week to 12/8/15 and India one year 11 ½ months to 12/1/20. All set aside EB-5 numbers remained current.

Employment based dates for filing: EB-1 ROW remained current with China advancing five months to 1/1/23 and India 1 ½ years to 1/1/21; EB-2 ROW moved up one month two weeks to 2/15/23 while China and India remained the same at 6/1/20 and 5/15/12 respectively; EB-3 ROW remained at 2/1/23 while China advanced 10 months to 7/1/21, India remained at 8/1/12 and the Philippines at 1/1/23; EW-3 other workers remained at 12/15/20 while China remained at 6/1/17, India at 8/1/12, and the Philippines at 5/15/20; both categories of EB-4 moved up six months for all countries to 9/1/19; EB-5 ROW remained current while China and India stayed at 1/1/17 and 4/1/22 respectively. All set aside EB-5 numbers remained current.

For the month of January, USCIS still continues to use dates of filing for both family-based and employment-based cases for adjustment of status.

One hopes that visa chart progression continues in coming months, but such will seemingly depend upon the inner operations of the State Department.

About The Author

Alan Lee, Esq. is an exclusive practitioner of immigration law based in New York City with an AV preeminent rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory for 20+ years, registered in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, on the New York Super Lawyers list (2011-12, 2013-14, 2014-2015, 2015-2023), and recognized as a New York Area Top Rated Lawyer. He has written extensively on immigration over the past years for Interpreter Releases, Immigration Daily, and the ethnic newspapers, World Journal, Sing Tao, Epoch Times, Pakistan Calling, Muhasba and OCS; testified as an expert on immigration in civil court proceedings; and is a regular contributor to Martindale-Hubbell's Ask-a-Lawyer program. His article, "The Bush Temporary Worker Proposal and Comparative Pending Legislation: an Analysis" was Interpreter Releases' cover display article at the American Immigration Lawyers Association annual conference in 2004; his 2004 case in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Firstland International v. INS, successfully challenged Legacy INS' policy of over 40 years of revoking approved immigrant visa petitions under a nebulous standard of proof, although its central holding that the government had to notify approved immigrant petition holders of the revocation prior to the their departure to the U. S. for the petition to be able to be revoked was short-lived as it was specifically targeted in the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 (which in response changed the language of the revocation statute itself). Yet Firstland lives on as precedent that the government must comply with nondiscretionary duties established in law, and such failure is reviewable in federal courts. His 2015 case, Matter of Leacheng International, Inc., with the Administrative Appeals Office of USCIS (AAO) set nation-wide standards on the definition of "doing business" for multinational executives and managers to gain immigration benefits.

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