Articles Posted in Visa Bulletin Priority Dates

This is a recent update. The State Department announced that the annual limit in the EB-2 category for China-mainland born and India has been reached. The State Department notified USCIS on April 11, 2012, that no further visas for those categories would be authorized. This is the “additional corrective action” that was forecast as a possibility in Section D of the May 2012 Visa Bulletin.

USCIS will continue to accept adjustment applications based upon cut-off dates published in the April and May Visa Bulletins. However, requests from USCIS service centers and field offices for visas in the EB-2 category aliens chargeable to China-mainland born or India will be retained by DOS for authorization in FY2013, beginning on October 1, 2012.

Visa applicants processing in April at consulates abroad will still receive visas, as those numbers were allocated before the cut-off date was established. USCIS will continue to accept applications for adjustment of status for aliens with priority dates prior to the date established in the April 2012 Visa Bulletin. Those cases with priority dates of August 15, 2007, or later, will be processed by USCIS to the point of approval (pre-adjudicated) and a request for a visa number will be forwarded Visa Control at DOS to be held in a “pending” file until new visas are available beginning with FY2013 on October 1, 2012 as we explained above.

In response to questions about projected priority date movement for the remainder of FY2012 posed by followers of our Blog we report based on AILA recent update, Charlie Oppenheim, DOS Chief of Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting, provided a chart with projected visa number movement based on recent patterns of USCIS number use, which recently have seen dramatic fluctuations. The following information can help with some predictions, but keep in mind these estimates are subject to change at any time.

Following our recent update on retrogression, we have the following news: Charlie Oppenheim, Chief, Immigrant Visa Control & Reporting in the State Department, provided AILA with further information on priority date movement in the EB-2 category for China-mainland born and India for the remainder of FY2012.

When the May Visa Bulletin is published, the China and India EB-2 cut-off will retrogress to August 15, 2007. Demand is still increasing at a very high rate and must be checked to maintain numbers for natives of other countries. As for projections for the remainder of the year, it is too early to predict movement.

USCIS has informed Mr. Oppenheim that they will continue to “preadjudicate” adjustment applications received through April. The “preadjudicated” cases will be held by the State Department in the “pending” demand file.

On March 16, 2012, at the AILA Midwest Regional Conference in Chicago, Charlie Oppenheim, Chief, Visa Control and Reporting at DOS, informed participants that he will likely retrogress India and China-mainland born Employment-Based Second Preference priority dates to around August 2007, effective with either the May or June 2012 Visa Bulletin. He also advised that he projects that all EB-1 visas available in FY2012 will be used this year, resulting in no “spilldown” to EB-2.

Congress sets limits on the number of immigrant visas that can be issued each year. In order to adjust status to that of legal permanent resident, an immigrant visa must be available to the applicant both at the time of filing and at the time of adjudication. The Department of State publishes a monthly Visa Bulletin which lists the cut-off dates that govern visa availability. Therefore, the monthly Visa Bulletin determines which applicants are eligible to file for adjustment of status, as well as which applicants are eligible for a grant of permanent resident status. Applicants who have a priority date earlier than the cut-off date published in the most current Visa Bulletin are eligible to apply for permanent residence.

The cut-off dates on the Department of State Visa Bulletin are adjusted monthly and are posted on its website at http://travel.state.gov. This adjustment is determined by the Department of State after consideration of a number of variables such as: