The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for May 2016 reflects a final action date of January 1, 2010, for EB-4 visas for special immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. This means that starting in May, applicants from these countries who filed Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant on or after January 1, 2010, will not be able to obtain an immigrant visa or adjust status until new visas become available.
These three countries have reached their EB-4 visa limits as congressionally mandated for fiscal year 2016, which ends September 30. Information on EB-4 visa availability for fiscal year 2017 for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras will appear in the Department of State’s October Visa Bulletin, which will be published this September.
EB-4 visas are for special immigrants. These are individuals who may be eligible for lawful permanent resident status based on specific classifications, including Special Immigrant Juvenile.
What this action means to EB-4 applicants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras:
Petitioners from any country, including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, may continue to file Form I-360. There is no annual limit on the number of Form I‑360 petitions that USCIS may approve.
USCIS will accept all properly filed submissions of Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, under the EB-4 classification until April 30, 2016.
- USCIS will process and make a decision on your Form I-485 application only if you have a Form I-360 filed before January 1, 2010, that is ultimately approved.
- If you have a pending Form I-360 filed on or after January 1, 2010, USCIS will process and make a decision on your Form I-360 but withhold a decision to approve your Form I-485 application pending availability of an EB-4 visa.
If you file Form I-485 under the EB-4 classification after April 30, 2016:
- USCIS will process and make a decision on your Form I-485 only if you filed your Form I-360 petition before January 1, 2010, and your Form I-360 is ultimately approved.
USCIS will reject and return other Form I-485 applications but will continue to process Form I-360 petitions (even if submitted together with a Form I-485 that gets rejected).