Why? The USCIS will take longer to process Adjustments of Status
in 2018 because of the new interview requirement. Because of the elongated I-485 processing
times, USCIS will be able to process fewer green card approvals in 2018. As a result, more green card numbers will
spill over into Consular Process queue.
We often see this phenomenon in the summer months, as we approach the
end of a fiscal year. The DOS accelerates
the Visa Bulletin in order to ensure that it uses the full allotment of
employment-based visa numbers. We explained
this phenomenon in a 2016 MU Law FAQ.
Unsurprisingly, Charlie Oppenheim, the DOS’ guru on immigrant visa
number allocation, recognized that the new I-485 interview rule may delay I485
green cards during his October
2017 AILA “Check In With Charlie”.
QUESTION #1: When does USCIS request and allocate a visa number to an
#1: Per the agreed upon policy, USCIS will only request an immigrant visa
number once all required processing is 100% complete, including conducting any
required interview, receipt of a complete medical exam, all required
QUESTION #2: Could you please confirm that a visa number that gets allocated to
each applicant who has successfully passed the interview should be preserved
for that applicant unless the applicant becomes ineligible for permanent
#2: With regard to USCIS, though this is relatively rare, there are occasions
in which USCIS requests a number, but before the adjustment of status
application is fully processed, subsequent derogatory information comes to the
officer’s attention which impacts eligibility. As another example, USCIS
recently sent RFEs out on numerous EB-3 India cases which had been
preadjudicated in anticipation that the final action date for this category
would advance during August and September. Visa numbers were provided for those
cases with the expectation that the applicants would respond to the RFEs in
time to be approved before the end of the fiscal year. Unfortunately, hundreds
of individuals did not respond in a timely manner, and USCIS determined that it
would be unable to complete adjudication of those cases prior to September 30,
2017. Those cases were returned to “pending demand” status, and the visa
numbers for those cases became available to other cases within FY 2017. USCIS
was provided with a new number for each case once the requested evidence was
received and successfully processed. As a result of new visa number requests
for several hundred of these cases, the final action date for EB-3 India is not
currently advancing. For consular processing cases, a visa number is allocated
to a consular post for use during the month in which the visa applicant is originally
scheduled for a visa interview. If the visa is not used during that month (i.e.
the case is placed in administrative processing), the number is returned to the
Visa Office at the end of the month.