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Immigrant Visas: Priority Dates and Predictions of Future Visa Availability

14:59 20 March in News Updates
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IMMIGRANT VISAS

PRIORITY DATES AND PREDICTIONS OF FUTURE VISA AVAILABILITY

Each month, the U.S. Department of State publishes its Visa Bulletin, in which it establishes cut-off dates in each immigration category, for each nationality. The Visa Bulletin for April 2015 has been released and contains some important developments pertaining to EB-2/EB-3 China, EB-5 China, EB-2 India and EB-3 Worldwide, Mexico and Philippines.

WHAT IS A PRIORITY DATE?

PRIORITY DATES/ IMMIGRANT VISA AVAILABILITY AS OF APRIL 1, 2015: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/law-and-policy/bulletin/2015/visa-bulletin-for-april-2015.html

PREDICTIONS OF FUTURE VISA AVAILABILITY Courtesy of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14071401 (posted March 18, 2015). The information below is based on the discussion between Mr. Charlie Oppenheim of the Department of State’s Visa Office (VO) and AILA’s Liaison Committee regarding current visa demand and projections in various categories. It is important to note that all projections, including those noted in the Visa Bulletin, are subject to change depending on demand that is reported by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) in real time.

EB-2 to EB-3 China “Downgrade” Change

  •  Since June 2013, the cut-off date for EB-3 China has been ahead of (later than) the cut-off date for EB-2 China. This unusual situation caused many in the EB-2 China visa category to downgrade to EB-3 in order to obtain an available immigrant visa faster.
  •  As of April 1, 2015, EB-2 China will return to its normal position ahead of EB-3 China, putting an end to the need for EB-2 to EB-3 downgrades (at least for now). The cut-off date for EB-2 China will be April 1, 2011 and the cut-off date for EB-3 China will be January 1, 2011. Additional progression of the EB-2 China cut-off date is a possibility in May depending on how much demand materializes for EB-2 China in April. However, Mr. Oppenheim also warns that corrective action could be necessary down the line if there is excessive demand in the EB-2 China category due to the movement of the cut-off date.

EB-5 China – Retrogression is Imminent

  •  For April 2015, EB-5 China remains current. However Mr. Oppenheim expects retrogression in this category by no later than June.

More Progress for EB-2 India

  •  EB-2 India progressed by 16 months in March and it continues its forward movement in April by another 8 months, to September 1, 2007.
  •  Mr. Oppenheim predicts continuous advancement of EB-2 India for the next several months, and then a gradual slowing or even holding toward the end of the fiscal year.

EB-3 Worldwide, Mexico and Philippines

  • As we begin the second half of the federal fiscal year, the Visa Office wants to ensure that all available immigrant visa numbers are used. Therefore we are seeing an advancement of EB-3 Worldwide, Mexico and the Philippines all by another four months, to October 1, 2014.
  • Mr. Oppenheim advises that another substantial advancement of these categories is possible in May.

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