Department of State Releases August 2014 Visa Bulletin

The bulletin shows minor advancement in the EB-2 category for applicants chargeable to India and China as well as significant advancement in the EB-3 category for applicants chargeable to China and the Philippines, minor advancement for applicants chargeable to India, and no change for applicants chargeable to Mexico or the Rest of the World.

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has released its August 2014 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 statuses to that of permanent residents or to obtain approval of immigrant visas at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad, provided that their priority dates are prior to the respective cutoff dates specified by the DOS.

What Does the August 2014 Visa Bulletin Say?

In August, the cutoff date for applicants in the EB-2 India category will advance by a little more than four months, while the cutoff date for applicants in the EB-2 China category will advance by a little more than three months. Meanwhile, the cutoff date in the EB-3 China category will advance by slightly more than two years, while the cutoff date in the EB-3 Philippines category will advance by 17 months. The EB-3 India category will advance by one week, while the cutoff date for EB-3 Mexico and the Rest of the World will remain unchanged. The cutoff date in the F2A category for applicants from all countries will also remain unchanged.

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

EB-2: The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to India will advance by a little more than four months to January 22, 2009. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to China will advance by slightly more than three months to October 8, 2009. The EB-2 category for all other countries will remain current.

EB-3: The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to India will advance by one week to November 8, 2003. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to China will advance by a little more than two years to November 1, 2008. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to the Philippines will advance by one year and five months to June 1, 2010. The cutoff date for applicants chargeable to Mexico and all other countries will remain unchanged at April 1, 2011.

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

China: November 1, 2008 (forward movement of two years and one month)
India: November 8, 2003 (forward movement of one week)
Mexico: April 1, 2011 (no movement)
Philippines: June 1, 2010 (forward movement of one year and five months)
Rest of the World: April 1, 2011 (no movement)

Developments Affecting the EB-2 Employment-Based Category

Mexico, the Philippines, and the Rest of the World

The EB-2 category for applicants chargeable to all countries other than China and India has been current since November 2012. The August Visa Bulletin indicates no change, meaning that applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to all countries other than China and India may continue to file AOS applications or have applications approved through August 2014.

China

The July Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of July 1, 2009 for EB-2 applicants chargeable to China. The August Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of October 8, 2009, reflecting forward movement of three months and one week. This means that applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to China with a priority date prior to October 8, 2009 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in August 2014.

India

In December 2013, the cutoff date for EB-2 applicants chargeable to India retrogressed significantly to November 15, 2004 because of unprecedented demand in this category. This cutoff date remained constant through June. There was significant movement forward of nearly four years in the July Visa Bulletin. The August Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of January 22, 2009, reflecting forward movement of another four months and three weeks. This means that applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to India with a priority date prior to January 22, 2009 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in August 2014.

Developments Affecting the EB-3 Employment-Based Category

China

In late 2013 and early 2014, the cutoff date for EB-3 applicants chargeable to China advanced significantly to generate demand in this category. In June, to regulate demand, this cutoff date retrogressed by six years to October 1, 2006 and remained the same for July. The August Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of November 1, 2008, reflecting forward movement of two years and one month. This means that only applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to China with a priority date prior to November 1, 2008 may continue to file AOS applications or have applications approved in August 2014.

India

The July Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of November 1, 2003 for EB-3 applicants chargeable to India. The August Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of November 8, 2003, reflecting forward movement of one week. This means that only EB-3 applicants chargeable to India with a priority date prior to November 8, 2003 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in August 2014.

Rest of the World

From September 2013 through April 2014, the cutoff date for EB-3 applicants in the worldwide category advanced by 3.75 years. In June, to regulate high demand, the cutoff date in this category retrogressed by 549 days to April 1, 2011. The August Visa Bulletin indicates no change to this cutoff date. This means that only applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to the Rest of the World with a priority date prior to April 1, 2011 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in August 2014.

Developments Affecting the F2A Family-Sponsored Category

In March, as a result of heavy demand in the F2A category from applicants chargeable to Mexico, the cutoff date in this category retrogressed significantly to April 15, 2012. In June, this cutoff date retrogressed again to March 15, 2011 and remained the same in July. The August Visa Bulletin indicates no change to this cutoff date. This means that only those applicants from Mexico with a priority date prior to March 15, 2011 will be able to file AOS applications or have applications approved in August 2014.

During fiscal year 2013, in an effort to generate demand in the F2A category from applicants from all countries other than Mexico, the cutoff date in this category advanced significantly. This advance resulted in a dramatic increase in demand, followed in June by a further retrogression of the cutoff date to May 1, 2012. The August Visa Bulletin indicates no change to this cutoff date. This means that only those F2A applicants from countries other than Mexico with a priority date prior to May 1, 2012 will be able to file AOS applications or have applications approved in August 2014. Further retrogression of the worldwide F2A category should not be ruled out.

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. 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 August 2014 Visa Bulletin in its entirety, please visit the DOS website.

Topics:  China, Department of State, EB-2, EB-3, Immigrants, India, Visas

Published In: Immigration Updates, Labor & Employment Updates

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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