EB-2 category for all chargeable areas other than China and India remains current, with some considerable forward movement but continued backlog in the EB-3 category.

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has released its May 2013 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 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 May 2013 Visa Bulletin Say?

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

EB-2: Foreign nationals in the EB-2 category from all countries other than China and India remain current. A cutoff date of May 15, 2008, reflecting minor forward movement, has been imposed for foreign nationals in the EB-2 category from China. A cutoff date of September 1, 2004, remains in effect for foreign nationals in the EB-2 category from India.

EB-3: There is continued backlog in the EB-3 category for all countries, with considerable forward movement for EB-3 individuals chargeable to countries other than India and the Philippines.

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

China: December 1, 2007 (forward movement of 223 days)
India: December 22, 2002 (forward movement of 14 days)
Mexico: December 1, 2007 (forward movement of 153 days)
Philippines: September 15, 2006 (forward movement of 7 days)
Rest of the World: December 1, 2007 (forward movement of 153 days)

Developments Affecting the EB-2 Employment-Based Category

Mexico, the Philippines, and the Rest of the World

In November, the EB-2 category for individuals chargeable to all countries other than China and India became current. This meant that EB-2 individuals chargeable to countries other than China and India could file an AOS application or have the application approved on or after November 1, 2012. The May Visa Bulletin indicates that the EB-2 category will continue to remain current for these individuals through May 2013.

China

The May Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of May 15, 2008, for EB-2 individuals chargeable to China. This means that EB-2 individuals chargeable to China with a priority date prior to May 15, 2008, may file an AOS application or have the application approved on or after May 1, 2013.

India

In April, the cutoff date for EB-2 individuals chargeable to India was September 1, 2004. This meant that EB-2 individuals chargeable to India with a priority date prior to September 1, 2004, could file an AOS application or have the application approved on or after February 1, 2013. The May Visa Bulletin indicates no movement of this cutoff date.

Developments Affecting the EB-3 Employment-Based Category

The May Visa Bulletin announced that the cutoff dates for EB-3 individuals chargeable to most countries have advanced significantly in an attempt to generate demand and utilize fully the annual numerical limits for the category. The May Visa Bulletin indicates that these advancements are likely to continue for the next few months and that such rapid forward movement in cutoff dates is often followed by a dramatic increase in demand for numbers. If there is a dramatic increase in demand within the EB-3 category, the movement of cutoff dates will begin to slow or stop.

The April Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of April 22, 2007, for EB-3 individuals chargeable to China. The May Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of December 1, 2007, for these individuals, reflecting forward movement of 223 days. This means that EB-3 individuals chargeable to China with a priority date prior to December 1, 2007, may file an AOS application or have the application approved on or after May 1, 2013.

Additionally, the April Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of December 8, 2002, for EB-3 individuals chargeable to India. The May Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of December 22, 2002, for these individuals, reflecting forward movement of 14 days. This means that EB-3 individuals chargeable to India with a priority date prior to December 22, 2002, may file an AOS application or have the application approved on or after May 1, 2013.

The April Visa Bulletin also indicated a cutoff date of July 1, 2007, for EB-3 individuals chargeable to the Rest of the World. The May Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of December 1, 2007, for these individuals, reflecting forward movement of 153 days. This means that individuals chargeable to all countries other than China and India with a priority date prior to December 1, 2007, may file an AOS application or have the application approved on or after May 1, 2013.

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 May 2013 Visa Bulletin in its entirety, please visit the DOS website here.

Topics:  Adjustment of Status, Department of State, EB-2, EB-3, Foreign Nationals, Visa Bulletins, 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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