The Department of State (DOS) Visa Bulletin for August 2014 has been released, and again presents good news for the employment-based, second preference (EB2) category for India. The EB2 India category moves forward from September 1, 2008 to January 22, 2009. As we noted in last month’s update, DOS unofficially predicted this forward movement towards the later part of the fiscal year (which ends in September 2014), in order to utilize EB2 visa numbers that were unused by other categories. This rapid movement forward is expected to continue; however the duration of this trend is uncertain and will depend on demand on available visa numbers by applicants with priority dates earlier than the new cut-off date.
This month’s Visa Bulletin also provides for limited movement forward in the EB2 category for China. The EB2 China category moved forward from July 1, 2009 to October 8, 2009. The EB2 category for all other countries, including Mexico and the Philippines, remains current.
There is also some forward movement in a few of the employment-based third preference categories (EB3).The EB3 category for the Philippines moved forward from January 1, 2009 to June 1, 2010.The EB3 category for China moved forward from October 1, 2006 to November 1, 2008.
The EB3 category for Mexico remains at April 1, 2011. The EB3 category for India remains in November, pushing forward a few days to November 8, 2003.The EB3 category for all other countries stays at April 1, 2011.
The employment-based first preference category (EB1) continues to remain current for all countries.
The priority date is effectively one’s place in line to immigrate. The priority date is established when a PERM application is filed with the Department of Labor, or for those cases not requiring a PERM application (typically EB1 cases and EB2 applications in the national interest), when the I-140 is filed with the USCIS. For family-based immigration cases, the priority date is established when the I-130 is filed with the USCIS. Individuals with priority dates earlier than the listed cut-off date on the bulletin are eligible to submit applications for adjustment of status (or consular visa applications) or if their applications are already pending may have their cases adjudicated. If one’s priority date is not “current,” neither agency may either 1) accept the case for processing, nor 2) adjudicate a filed and pending case, because an immigrant visa is not available if the priority date is not “current”.
Note that DOS looks at your country of birth in determining whether you are a national of a given country, not your country of citizenship. It is country of birth (yours or your spouse) that determines which country to which you are “charged” or “counted” against for purposes of permanent residency. For example, if you were born in India but have since become a citizen of Canada, you are still charged against India and you have to look at advancements for India rather than worldwide numbers. As another example, if you (principal applicant on an employment based process) were born in India but you are married to a person who was born in Canada, both of you can be charged against Canada. This latter example is called “cross-chargeability”.
For general information on visa retrogression, please see our FAQ on this subject. For more information on the Visa Bulletin and country quota movements, including information about movement in the Family-Based Quotas, please see our DOS Visa Bulletin and Quota Movement page, which includes detailed nationality-specific charts of quota movement since 1996. Please also note that while Congress is contemplating new immigration legislation, it is far too early to look at the potential changes and their impact on the immigration system. Until new legislation is actually passed and becomes law, we can only look to the current laws for how cases will be processed.