April 2017 Visa Bulletin has been officially released (valid from April 1 to April 30 only). Please see below for more details.
D. RAPID MOVEMENT IN WORLDWIDE FAMILY FOURTH PREFERENCE CATEGORY
Despite the forward movement of the final action dates, the level of demand and resulting number use in several Family preferences has been below expectations. This lower than expected demand has resulted in advancement of the April Worldwide Family Fourth Preference date at a pace that covers the period of several months projected in the March Visa Bulletin’s “Visa Availability in the Coming Months”. This action will allow the overall desired allocation level of number use for and through April to be met. There are signs that demand in the other categories will increase in the coming months, resulting in the higher monthly allocation totals required to allow number use to reach those desired levels. The Fourth Preference date will then be held for a period of time while the anticipated monthly allocation levels in those other preferences increase, without drastically altering overall workload patterns.
E. SCHEDULED EXPIRATION OF TWO EMPLOYMENT VISA CATEGORIES
Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR):
Pursuant to the continuing resolution signed on December 10, 2016, the non-minister special immigrant program expires on April 28, 2017. No SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after midnight April 27, 2017. Visas issued prior to this date will only be issued with a validity date of April 27, 2017, and all individuals seeking admission as a non-minister special immigrant must be admitted (repeat, admitted) into the U.S. no later than midnight April 27, 2017.
The final action date for this category has been listed as “Current” for April for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, which are subject to a July 15, 2015 final action date for April. If there is no legislative action extending this category for FY-2017, the final action date would immediately become “Unavailable” for April for all countries effective April 28, 2017.
Employment Fifth Preference Categories (I5 and R5):
The continuing resolution signed on December 10, 2016 extended this immigrant investor pilot program until April 28, 2017. The I5 and R5 visas may be issued until close of business on April 28, 2017, and may be issued for the full validity period. No I5 or R5 visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after April 28, 2017.
The final action dates for the I5 and R5 categories have been listed as “Current” for April for all countries except China-mainland born, which is subject to a May 22, 2014 final action date. If there is no legislative action extending them for FY-2017, the final action dates would immediately become “Unavailable” for April for all countries effective April 29, 2017.
F. SPECIAL IMMIGRANT VISA AVAILABILITY
The Department expects to exhaust the Special Immigrant Visas allocated by Congress under the Afghan Allies Protection Act of 2009, as amended, not later than June 1, 2017. As a result, the Final Action Date for the SQ category for certain Afghan nationals employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government in Afghanistan will become “Unavailable” effective June 2017. No further interviews for Afghan principal applicants in the SQ category will be scheduled after March 1, 2017, and further issuances will not be possible after May 30, 2017.
The SQ category for certain Iraqi nationals employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq is not affected and remains current, though the application deadline was September 30, 2014.
The FY-2017 annual limit of 50 Special Immigrant Visas in the SI category was reached in December 2016 and the Final Action Date remains “Unavailable.” As included in the January 2017 Visa Bulletin, further issuances in the SI category will not be possible until October 2017, under the FY-2018 annual limit.