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March 2022 Visa Bulletin

Number 63
Volume X
Washington, D.C

Information about employment-based visa categories has been extracted from the bulletin.  The full-content bulletin can be downloaded here.


This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during March for: “Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications,” indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center.

Unless otherwise indicated on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website at, individuals seeking to file applications for adjustment of status with USCIS in the Department of Homeland Security must use the “Final Action Dates” charts below for determining when they can file such applications. When USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for the fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, USCIS will state on its website that applicants may instead use the “Dates for Filing Visa Applications” charts in this Bulletin.

Section 203(b) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Employment-based immigrant visas as follows: 


First:  Priority Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

Second:  Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.

Third:  Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to "*Other Workers".

Fourth:  Certain Special Immigrants:  7.1% of the worldwide level.

Fifth:  Employment Creation:  7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of Pub. L. 102-395.


On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); "C" means current, i.e., numbers are authorized for issuance to all qualified applicants; and "U" means unauthorized, i.e., numbers are not authorized for issuance. (NOTE: Numbers are authorized for issuance only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the final action date listed below.)

Final action dates, What is a final action date, exceptional ability, skilled workers, advanced degrees, employment based preference, priority workers, employment creation, current, oversubscribed, unauthorized, China, El Salvador, India, Philippines, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Fifth Non Regional Center, other workers, certain religious workers, I5, R5, C5, T5, chargeability, March 2022, NACARA, Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act

*Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category:  Section 203(e) of the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year. This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program. Since the EW final action date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002. For Fiscal Year 2022 this reduction will be limited to approximately 150.


The chart below reflects dates for filing visa applications within a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process. Applicants for immigrant visas who have a priority date earlier than the application date in the chart may assemble and submit required documents to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, following receipt of notification from the National Visa Center containing detailed instructions. The application date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who cannot submit documentation to the National Visa Center for an immigrant visa. If a category is designated “current,” all applicants in the relevant category may file, regardless of priority date.

The “C” listing indicates that the category is current, and that applications may be filed regardless of the applicant’s priority date. The listing of a date for any category indicates that only applicants with a priority date which is earlier than the listed date may file their application.


Division O, Title 1, Section 104 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 extended the immigrant investor pilot program until June 30, 2021.  No I5 or R5 visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases after June 30, 2021.

The final action dates for the I5 and R5 categories have been listed as “Unavailable” for March.

If there is legislative action extending this category for March, the final action dates would immediately become “Current” for March for all countries except China-mainland born I5 and R5, which would be subject to a November 22, 2015 final action date. It may also become necessary to establish a China-mainland born final action date and application filing date for the C5 and T5 categories as early as April to keep number use within the maximum allowed under the FY-2022 annual limits. In addition, if sufficient demand materializes in the Employment-based Fifth Preference category, corrective action may need to be taken in the India Employment-based Second Preference category, which would have utilized any otherwise unused numbers from the Employment-based Fifth Preference.

General Guidance
Once a Priority Date becomes available, it is incumbent upon the applicant to timely ensure that the visa application is completed.

End of Year Notes 2021

How USCIS Affects Visa Bulletin Predictions
USCIS was processing at the rate of 7-8 thousand per week in August and September. It would be hard to expect that type of processing to continue, but it is anticipated that there will still be a very robust processing turnaround. Even if USCIS were only to process at 5-6 thousand per week, when combined with increased overseas use of numbers, it could exhaust the estimated 280,000 Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Employment-based (EB) limit before the end of the FY.

Watch the increasing processing rates at consulates, as this will play a role in how quickly the numbers are used since they are starting to come back online. Charlie was surprised at the DOS number usage during October as it is increasing beyond what he would have expected. This is a combination of refusal rates being down because those appearing for an interview are better prepared; fewer people are missing interviews, and applicants are more attentive to overcoming refusals by providing documents during the original month of the interview.

There is a lot of pent up overseas EB demand. If addressed, this will be added to USCIS’s number usage and allow the government to get very close to approaching the annual limit. The impact on EB-3 India is not currently much of a concern, given the retrogression in that category. The impact on EB-2 India is more of a concern, because of potential upgrades and the fact that there could be fewer “otherwise unused EB-2 numbers” which can fall to this group.

EB-5 Current for China
We all know the EB-5 Pilot Program for Regional Center investments has been suspended, and therefore, I5 and R5 visas have been, and remain, unavailable. C5 and T5 visas nevertheless remain viable. The big news this month is that China joins the rest of the world in having both Dates for Filing and Final Action Dates as Current for these visa categories.

The Pilot Program I5/R5 has historically taken most EB-5 numbers, subject to periodic reauthorization. The most recent extension of the Regional Center Pilot Program ended in June 2021. Historically, suspensions of the program have been brief, and Charlie anticipated the same this year, so he did not make any changes to EB-5 C5 & T5. To date, however, there has been no movement.

A reauthorization of I5/R5 was stripped out of the legislation that renewed other programs, and it has not been included in any continuing resolution legislation. An estimated 19,880 EB-5 visas are available for use this Fiscal Year (the previous high was about 11,000). Still, without the potential use of perhaps 15,000 to 16,000 China I5 and R5 numbers, Charlie decided to make China C5 and T5 current.

As with all preference categories, Charlie urges C5 and T5 EB-5 applicants to act as quickly as possible to capitalize on this opportunity.

Guangzhou is the prime processing post for Chinese EB-5 applications, and the post has started to come back online. If there were an extension of the I5/R5 Regional Center program, and such number use were to increase, DOS may need to reimpose a Final Action Date for Chinese C5 and T5 applicants, but probably not in the foreseeable future (i.e., before summer 2022).

EB-2 India Final Action Date Advances Beyond EB-3 India
Charlie advanced EB-2 India from December 1, 2011 to May 1, 2012. . It is still unclear how many EB-3 India to EB-2 India upgrades will materialize. For that reason, he decided to “step on the gas early” to test how much demand is out there; they will then likely pull back on advancement with the possibility of advancing again later in the FY. His original plan was to be aggressive in the first months of the FY, scale back while monitoring the impact of the aggressive movement, and then maybe advance again later if such action is warranted.

It is possible they may not have enough information to once again act aggressively before April 2022, as it takes time for these things to make it through the system and to materialize as demand that is visible to him. For this reason, the movement in January 2022 may be more indicative of what we may (optimistically) expect for the next several months.

EB-2 China – Visa Bulletin Predictions
For December, the Final Action date advances 1.5 months, from November 15, 2018 to January 1, 2019. Charlie expects this to remain the maximum pace of advancement for EB-2 China for the time being. While demand for India numbers is steadier and more consistent, EB-2 demand for China numbers is often more of a surge and pullback.

EB-3 China Other Workers Final Action Date leaps ahead by 2 years (Date for Filing by 5 years)
The EB-3 China Other Worker Final Action Date advanced from March 1, 2010 to March 1 2012 and the Date for Filing form March 1, 2010 to March 1, 2015. Charlie says demand has evaporated, which allows this huge advancement. It would not shock Charlie if this category reached the EB-3 China Final Action Date at some point.

USCIS Visa Information

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Questions and Answers

EB-5 General Questions and Answers (updated Dec. 2020) (PDF, 367.63 KB)
EB-5 Further Deployment
EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Visa Availability Approach
EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization Rule
USCIS EB5 Immigrant Investor Requirements January 2022

Filing Tips

EB-5 Filing Tips
Form Filing Tips

Suggested Order of Documentation

Suggested Order of Form I-526 Documentation
Suggested Order of Form I-829 Documentation
Suggested Order of Form I-924 Documentation

USCIS Policy Manual

USCIS Policy Manual, Volume 6 - Immigrants, Part G - Investors

USCIS E1/E2 Visa Resources

E Visas
E1 Treaty Traders
E2 Treaty Investors
U.S. Department of State's Treaty Countries
How to Apply for an E2 Visa
E2 Treaty Investor 8CFR

USCIS L1 Visa Resources

L1 Visas
L1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager
L1B Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge
Update to Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises (VIBE) Program

USCIS Clarifies the L-1 One-Year Foreign Employment Requirement