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Shutdown, Not Slowdown

Happy New Year to everyone! I want to bring to people's attention the February 2019 Visa Bulletin released by the U.S. Department of State on January 11, 2019. Compared to the January 2019 Visa Bulletin, nothing has retrogressed, BUT, importantly for those seeking to adjust status, i.e., apply for a Green Card within the United States as opposed to applying for an immigrant visa at a United-States consular post abroad, through an employment-based immigrant petition, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has warned that as soon as February 2019 such employment-based adjustment-of-status applications may need to be filed pursuant to the "Final Action Dates" chart as opposed to the "Dates for Filing" chart used for the January 2019 Adjustment-of-Status-Filing Date Ranges.

Therefore, in effect and only if one is eligible to file for adjustment of status, not filing by the end of January 2019 could potentially shut the filing window temporarily until the priority date becomes current again in the future. Effectively, and again only for purposes of adjustment of status based on an employment-based immigrant petition, almost all of the preference categories that are not already current will suffer retrogression from January 2019 to February 2019, some will be wholly unavailable, and only the second-preference category for those born in China will progress.

This potential change shows how despite dysfunction in Washington, DC, the demand for employment-based Green Cards is only increasing. Careful attention is therefore advised so that an appropriate determination is made whether one should file for adjustment of status before the end of this month, i.e., January 2019.