Bulletin shows minor forward movement in the EB-2 China category and the EB-3 India category, with no movement in the EB-2 India category or the EB-3 China category.

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has released its May 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 May 2014 Visa Bulletin Say?

The May Visa Bulletin indicates minor forward movement of the cutoff date in the EB-2 China category and no movement in the EB-3 China category. The May Visa Bulletin also indicates minor forward movement of the cutoff date in the EB-3 India category and no movement in the EB-2 India category.

A cutoff date of April 15, 2012 will remain in effect for individuals in the F2A category chargeable to Mexico, while a cutoff date of September 8, 2013 will remain in effect for individuals in the F2A category chargeable to all other countries.

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

EB-2: The cutoff date of November 15, 2004 for individuals in the EB-2 category chargeable to India will remain unchanged from the April Visa Bulletin. The cutoff date for individuals in the EB-2 category chargeable to China will advance by 38 days to April 15, 2009. The EB-2 category for all other countries will remain current.

EB-3: The cutoff date for individuals in the EB-3 category chargeable to India will advance by 16 days to October 1, 2013. The cutoff date for individuals in the EB-3 category chargeable to China will remain unchanged at October 1, 2012. The cutoff date for individuals in the EB-3 category chargeable to the Philippines will advance by 139 days to November 1, 2007. The cutoff date for individuals chargeable to Mexico and the Rest of the World will remain unchanged at October 1, 2012. We note that the EB-3 China category remains ahead of the EB-2 China category.

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

China: October 1, 2012 (no movement)
India: October 1, 2003 (forward movement of 16 days)
Mexico: October 1, 2012 (no movement)
Philippines: November 1, 2007 (forward movement of 139 days)
Rest of the World: October 1, 2012 (no movement)

Developments Affecting the EB-2 Employment-Based Category

Mexico, the Philippines, and the Rest of the World

The EB-2 category for individuals chargeable to all countries other than China and India has been current since November 2012. The May Visa Bulletin indicates no change to these categories. This means that individuals 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 May 2014.

China

The April Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of March 8, 2009 for EB-2 individuals chargeable to China. The May Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of April 15, 2009, reflecting forward movement of 38 days. This means that individuals in the EB-2 category chargeable to China with a priority date prior to April 15, 2009 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in May 2014.

India

In December 2013, the cutoff date for EB-2 individuals chargeable to India retrogressed by 3.5 years to November 15, 2004 due to unprecedented demand for EB-2 visa numbers from applicants in this category. This cutoff date has since remained constant, and the May Visa Bulletin again indicates no change. This means that only individuals in the EB-2 category chargeable to India with a priority date prior to November 15, 2004 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in May 2014.

Developments Affecting the EB-3 Employment-Based Category

China

From September through December 2013, the cutoff date for EB-3 individuals chargeable to China advanced by 2.75 years, and, from January through April, this cutoff date advanced by an additional 366 days. The May Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of October 1, 2012, reflecting no change to the cutoff date from April. This means that individuals in the EB-3 category chargeable to China with a priority date prior to October 1, 2012 may continue to file AOS applications or have applications approved in May 2014.

India

In March, the cutoff date for EB-3 individuals chargeable to India advanced by 14 days to September 15, 2003. There was no change to this cutoff date in April. The May Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of October 1, 2013, reflecting forward movement of 16 days. This means that only EB-3 individuals chargeable to India with a priority date prior to October 1, 2003 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in May 2014.

Rest of the World

From September through December 2013, the cutoff date for EB-3 individuals chargeable to the Rest of the World advanced by 2.75 years, and, from January through April, this cutoff date advanced by an additional 366 days. The May Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of October 1, 2012, reflecting no movement of this cutoff date. This means that individuals in the EB-3 category chargeable to the Rest of the World with a priority date prior to October 1, 2012 may continue to file AOS applications or have applications approved in May 2014.

Developments Affecting the F2A Family-Sponsored Category

Beginning in October 2013, a cutoff date of September 1, 2013 was imposed for F2A spouses and children of permanent residents from Mexico, and a cutoff date of September 8, 2013 was imposed for F2A spouses and children of permanent residents from all other countries. In March, as a result of heavy demand in the F2A Mexico category, the cutoff date for F2A applicants born in Mexico retrogressed by 504 days to April 15, 2012; the cutoff date for F2A applicants from all other countries remained unchanged. There was no change to these cutoff dates in April, and the May Visa Bulletin again indicates no change to these cutoff dates. This means that those applicants from Mexico with a priority date prior to April 15, 2012 will be able to file AOS applications or have applications approved in May 2014, and those applicants from the Rest of the World with a priority date prior to September 8, 2013 may file AOS applications or have applications approved through May 2014.

The May Visa Bulletin indicates that demand in the F2A category continues to increase dramatically and that the cutoff date for individuals from Mexico and all other countries is therefore likely to retrogress in the coming months.

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

Topics:  Adjustment of Status, China, Department of State, EB-2, EB-3, F2-A, Foreign Priority Applications, Hiring & Firing, India, Priority Date Cutoff, Visas

Published In: Immigration Updates, International Trade 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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