India has reached its congressionally-mandated EB-4 visa limit for fiscal year 2016, which ends on September 30. This means that beginning Aug. 1, 2016 applicants from India who filed Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant on January 1, 2010 or after, will not be able to obtain an immigrant visa or adjust immigration status until new visas become available.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will continue to accept all Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status applications under EB-4 classification that have been filed properly through July 31, 2016, according to the agency’s July 11 release on the topic. The release also notes that the agency will continue processing the applications while visas remain available.
Although USCIS has reached EB-4 visa limits for the fiscal year, the agency can still approve Form I-360 petitions as no annual limit exists on the number of Form I-360 petitions the agency may approve, according to the release.
EB-4 visas, a status for special immigrants, are designed for individuals who might be eligible to obtain lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. The status is based on specific classifications, which includes Special Immigrant Juvenile.
Among the implications of the development:
- For those who file Form I-485 on or after August 1, USCIS notes it will only process and make a decision on the petition in cases where the Form I-360 petition was filed before Jan. 1, 2010 and the Form I-360 is ultimately approved.
- The agency will reject and return other Form I-485 applications, but USCIS will continue to process Form I-360. This is so even if the Form I-360 petition is submitted with a rejected Form I-485.
Where EB-4 applicants from other countries are concerned, USCIS also notes that as of Aug. 1, 2016, a final action date of Jan. 1, 2010 applies to special immigrant applicants for adjustment of status from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Those applicants who are nationals of El Salvador, Guatemal and Honduras are directed to refer to Employment-Based Fourth Preference (EB-4) Visa Limits Reached for Special Immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for September 2016 reflects a final action date of Jan. 1, 2010, for EB-4 visas for special immigrants from Mexico. Information on the availability of EB-4 visas for fiscal year 2017 will be published in the Department of State’s October Visa Bulletin, due out in September.