USCIS Not Accepting EB-4 Applications from Central American Countries

On April 12, 2016, the United States Customs and Immigration Services announced a Final Action Date of January 10, 2010, for processing Form I-360 applications for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status from Special Immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.  The Eb-4 Visa allocation has been filled for 2016, and no more immigrant visas or status adjustments will be made until new visas become available

The Form I-360 petition for special immigrant status covers the following situations for immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras:

  • An Amerasian
  • A widow or widower
  • A religious worker
  • A panama canal company employee, canal zone government employee or U.S. government employee in canal zone
  • A physician
  • An international organization employee or family member
  • A juvenile court dependent
  • An armed forces member

The Final Action Date is dictated by the United States Customs and Immigration Service as the date to which applicants can file for an adjustment of special status.  The Final Action Date is announced periodically, and immigrants applying for a special status adjustment are encouraged to monitor the United States Customs and Immigration Service’s publication of the Visa Bulletin.

A person in the United States who is a nonimmigrant, or on a temporary visa, may apply for a change of immigration status, “adjustment of status,” to permanent status if all required qualifications for permanent residence in a particular category are satisfied.  This allows the applicant to obtain permanent resident status without having to return to their home country to complete visa processing.

Special Status Immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras who wish to apply for an adjustment to status, must follow the Adjustment of Status Filing Process if a relative or employer has not filed an immigrant visa petition and note the following:

  • If an application for an immigrant visa petition has been made or approved, the applicant may have to wait for an available visa in their category before filing a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
  • If an applicant wishes to apply for adjustment, the United States Customs and Immigration Service will continue to accept Form I-360 Applications.  However, Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, under the EB-4 classification will only be accepted to until April 30, 2016, and reviewed if a Form I-360 was filed before the Final Action Date of January 1, 2010.
  • If a Form I-360 is filed on or after January 1, 2010, the United States Customs and Immigration Service will process and make a decision on the Form I-360 but withhold a decision to approve any Form I-485 application pending availability of an EB-4 visa.

Information on the EB-4 visa availability for the fiscal year 2017 for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras will appear in the Department of State’s October Visa Bulletin, which will be published in September 2016.