Department of State Releases May 2012 Visa Bulletin

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

Significant cutoff-date retrogression in the EB-2 category for Indian and Chinese nationals; affected persons should file AOS applications before May 1.

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has released its May 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 May 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: August 15, 2007 (retrogression of two years and eight months)
India: August 15, 2007 (retrogression of two years and eight months)

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: April 1, 2005 (forward movement of 31 days)
India: September 1, 2002 (forward movement of 7 days)
Mexico: May 1, 2006 (forward movement of 23 days)
Philippines: May 1, 2006 (forward movement of 23 days)
Rest of the World: May 1, 2006 (forward movement of 23 days)

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 May 2012 Visa Bulletin in its entirety, please visit the DOS website at http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5692.html.

PLEASE NOTE: As predicted in our last Immigration Alert, significant cutoff-date retrogression has occurred in the EB-2 category for Indian and Chinese nationals. The result is that many persons whose priority dates are now current will find that they are no longer able to file AOS applications as of May 1. It is therefore very important to ensure that AOS applications be filed before May 1 for Indian and Chinese nationals in the EB-2 category whose priority dates are now current. AOS applications filed by persons whose priority dates will no longer be current after May 1 will continue to be processed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and employment authorization documents and advance paroles will be issued if appropriate. However, such AOS applications may not be approved until the relevant priority dates are once again current.

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Morgan Lewis
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