The Department of State (DOS) Visa Bulletin for September 2014 outlining immigrant visa availability movement has been released.
A major announcement relating to EB-5 investor visas was made by Charlie Oppenheim, the DOS Chief of Visa Control and Reporting Division, which affects the September Bulletin. He announced that effective Saturday, August 23, 2014, the number of EB-5 visas available to those born in China has been reached for the 2014 fiscal year, which ends on September 30, 2014.
The EB2 India category continues to move forward from January 22, 2009 to May 01, 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 the demand on the available visa numbers by applicants with priority dates earlier than the new cut-off date.
The EB2 China category remains unchanged at October 8, 2009. The EB2 category for all other countries, including Mexico and the Philippines, remains current.
There is also some forward movement in the employment-based third preference category (EB3) for the Philippines. The EB3 category for the Philippines moved forward from June 1, 2010 to April 1, 2011.
The EB3 category for Mexico remains at April 1, 2011. The EB3 category for China stays at November 1, 2008. The EB3 category for India is still at 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.
Family based (FB) preference categories showed forward movement in some but not all categories for all countries of birth, most prominently the F-2A category (for spouses and children under 21 of lawful permanent residents).
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 ones priority date is not “current” neither agency may accept the case for processing nor adjudicate a pending case because the “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.