The Department of State (DOS) Visa Bulletin for July 2012 indicates that the employment-based second preference category (EB2) for all countries other than China and India will retrogress to January 01, 2009. This means that as of July foreign nationals may not file for Adjustment of Status or pursue Consular Processing for an immigrant visa unless they have a priority date of January 01, 2009 or before. DOS stated, “Continued heavy demand for numbers in the Employment Second preference category has required the establishment of a Worldwide cut-off date for the month of July. This action has been taken in an effort to hold number use within the annual numerical limit. Should there be an increase in the current demand pattern, it may be necessary to make this category completely “unavailable” prior to September 30, 2012.
The China and India Employment Second preference categories are already “unavailable”, and will remain so for the remainder of the fiscal year.
The employment-based first preference category (EB1) continues to remain current for all countries. The employment-based third preference (EB3) numbers for all countries other than India, China and Philippines made some forward movement from June 08, 2006 to July 22, 2006. EB3 India moved forward from September 15, 2002 to September 22, 2002. EB3 China moved from August 08, 2005 to September 22, 2005. EB3 Philippines to June 8, 2006.
It is important to note that "nationality” for immigrant visa allotment is not the same as citizenship. Generally, DOS looks at the country of birth in determining whether a person is a national of a given country. As a result, persons who become citizens of other countries (i.e., Indians who become Canadian citizens) are still considered nationals of their birth country for immigrant visa purposes.
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.