On September 8, the Department of State published its Visa Bulletin, a monthly report of visa availability, for October 2016. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determined that for the month of October 2016, applicants for all family-sponsored and employment-based preferences may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart, except for certain employment-based fourth preference (EB-4) non-minister religious workers and for employment-based fifth preference (EB-5) Regional Center Program participants, as explained below. These two groups must use the Application Final Action Dates chart.
Statutory authorization for both the EB-5 Regional Center Program and the EB-4 non-minister special immigrant program for certain religious workers is scheduled to expire on Sept. 30, 2016. Therefore, visas are unavailable for these categories after that date, unless Congress enacts, and the President approves, a law extending their eligibility. If these programs are reauthorized, USCIS will update the Visa Bulletin and program webpages. For more details, read section D, “Scheduled Expiration of Two Employment Visa Categories,” in the October 2016 Visa Bulletin.