Employment-Based Fourth Preference (EB-4) Immigrant Visa Processing: Consolidation of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras With “All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed” in April 2023 Visa Bulletin
As reflected in the April 2023 Visa Bulletin, final action and application filing dates for Employment-Based Fourth Preference (EB-4) immigrant visa applicants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are now provided in the column headed “All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed.” This change is necessary to bring EB-4 visa number allocation into compliance with U.S. immigration law. The law is clear that the restriction on the number of immigrant visas issued to nationals of a certain country is triggered only in limited circumstances which are not present here. The resulting adjustments in the Visa Bulletin take into account expected demand from each of these three countries for family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas. As a result of combining their demand with the rest of the word, the EB-4 final action date for “All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed” has retrogressed as of April 1, 2023.
The length of time an EB-4 visa applicant will wait for a visa number to become available to them depends on the applicant’s priority date and the number of applicants with earlier priority dates. Generally, applicants for whom the April 2023 final action date retrogressed should expect to wait longer for a visa to become available, as compared to the final action dates in the March 2023 Visa Bulletin, while applicants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, for whom the April 2023 final action date advanced, should expect a shorter wait time.
The Department has published a Federal Register notice to further explain this change.
This change affects only EB-4 applicants. Due to Visa Bulletin chart formatting, applicants in other employment-based visa categories will see a slight change in how information is presented in the chart (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras no longer have a separate column). However, the change does not affect final action dates or application filing dates for other employment-based categories, aside from EB-4.