Department of State Releases April 2012 Visa Bulletin


[authors: Eleanor Pelta, Eric S. Bord, A. James Vázquez-Azpiri, Lance Director Nagel, and Lisa Stephanian Burton]

Retrogression expected for China/India; no EB-2 China/India advancement in April.

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has released its April 2012 Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletin sets out per country priority date cutoffs that regulate the flow of adjustment of status (AOS) and consular immigrant visa applications. Foreign nationals may file applications to adjust their status to that of permanent resident, or to obtain approval of an immigrant visa application at an American embassy or consulate abroad, provided that their priority dates are prior to the cutoff dates specified by the DOS.

What Does the April 2012 Visa Bulletin Say?

EB-1: All EB-1 categories remain current.

EB-2: Priority dates remain current for foreign nationals in the EB-2 category from all countries except China and India.

The relevant priority date cutoffs for Indian and Chinese nationals are as follows:

China: May 1, 2010 (no forward movement)
India: May 1, 2010 (no forward movement)

EB-3: There is continued backlog in the EB-3 category.

The relevant priority date cutoffs for foreign nationals in the EB-3 category are as follows:

China: March 1, 2005 (forward movement of two months)
India: September 1, 2002 (forward movement of one week)
Mexico: April 8, 2006 (forward movement of three weeks)
Philippines: April 8, 2006 (forward movement of three weeks)
Rest of the World: April 8, 2006 (forward movement of three weeks)

How This Affects You

Priority date cutoffs are assessed on a monthly basis by the DOS, based on anticipated demand. Cutoff dates can move forward or backward, or remain static and unchanged. Employers and employees should take the immigrant visa backlogs into account in their long-term planning, and take measures to mitigate their effects. To see the April 2012 Visa Bulletin in its entirety, please visit the DOS website.

PLEASE NOTE: Charles Oppenheimer of the DOS has indicated it is likely that the May or June Visa Bulletin will reflect cutoff date retrogression in the EB-2 category for Indian and Chinese nationals. The extent of this retrogression will not be clear until the relevant Visa Bulletin is published in mid-April or mid-May, but it is likely that an August 2007 cutoff date will be imposed. The result will be that a significant number of persons whose priority dates are now current will find that they are no longer able to file AOS applications as of May 1 or June 1. It is therefore very important to ensure that AOS applications for Indian and Chinese nationals in the EB-2 category whose priority dates are current be filed before May 1 or, if the retrogression takes effect in June, before June 1.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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