Department of State Releases November 2013 Visa Bulletin

by Morgan Lewis
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Bulletin shows no significant movement in cutoff dates in the employment-based second preference category and moderate forward movement in cutoff dates in the employment-based third preference category for individuals chargeable to China, Mexico, and the Rest of the World.

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

A cutoff date of June 15, 2008 for individuals in the EB-2 category chargeable to India remains in effect from October. The cutoff date for individuals in the EB-2 category chargeable to China will advance by 23 days in November. The EB-2 category for individuals chargeable to all other countries remains current.

From April through July, and again in September, there were dramatic advancements in cutoff dates in the EB-3 category for individuals from most countries. There was no additional movement in this category in October, with the exception of a slight advancement for individuals chargeable to the Philippines. The November Visa Bulletin indicates that the cutoff date for individuals in the EB-3 category from India and the Philippines has not changed, whereas the cutoff date for individuals in the EB-3 category chargeable to China, Mexico, and the Rest of the World has advanced by 92 days.

A cutoff date of September 1, 2013 for individuals in the family-based F2A category from Mexico, as well as a cutoff date of September 8, 2013 for individuals in the F2A category from all other countries, remains in effect from October.

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

EB-2: The cutoff date for individuals in the EB-2 category chargeable to India has not changed. The cutoff date for individuals in the EB-2 category chargeable to China has advanced by 23 days. The cutoff date for individuals in the EB-2 category chargeable to all other countries remains current.

EB-3: The cutoff date for individuals in the EB-3 category from India and the Philippines has not changed. The cutoff date for individuals in the EB-3 category chargeable to China, Mexico, and the Rest of the World has advanced by 92 days.

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

China: October 1, 2010 (forward movement of 92 days)
India: September 22, 2003 (no movement)
Mexico: October 1, 2010 (forward movement of 92 days)
Philippines: December 15, 2006 (no movement)
Rest of the World: October 1, 2010 (forward movement of 92 days)

Developments Affecting the EB-2 Employment-Based Category

Mexico, the Philippines, and the Rest of the World

In November 2012, 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 AOS applications or have applications approved on or after November 1, 2012. The latest Visa Bulletin indicates that the EB-2 category will continue to remain current for these individuals through November 2013.

China

The November Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of October 8, 2008 for EB-2 individuals chargeable to China, reflecting forward movement of 23 days. This means that EB-2 individuals chargeable to China with a priority date prior to October 8, 2008 may file AOS applications or have applications approved through November 2013.

India

In August, after 10 months of stagnation, the cutoff date for EB-2 individuals chargeable to India advanced by more than three years to January 1, 2008. In September, the cutoff date in this category advanced by an additional five-and-a-half months to June 15, 2008. There was no movement of this cutoff date in October, and the November Visa Bulletin indicates no additional movement in this category. This means that EB-2 individuals chargeable to India with a priority date prior to June 15, 2008 may continue to file AOS applications or have applications approved through November 2013.

Developments Affecting the EB-3 Employment-Based Category

From April through July, and again in September, there were significant advancements in the cutoff dates for EB-3 individuals chargeable to most countries. There was no movement in this category in October, with the exception of the cutoff date for EB-3 individuals chargeable to the Philippines, which advanced by two weeks. The November Visa Bulletin indicates no movement of cutoff dates in the EB-3 category for individuals chargeable to India and the Philippines, but it does indicate forward movement of 92 days for individuals chargeable to China, Mexico, and the Rest of the World.

China

In September, the cutoff date for EB-3 individuals chargeable to China advanced by 547 days to July 1, 2010. There was no movement in cutoff dates in October, but the November Visa Bulletin indicates forward movement in this category of 92 days to October 1, 2010. This means that EB-3 individuals chargeable to China with a priority date prior to October 1, 2010 may continue to file AOS applications or have applications approved through November 2013.

India

In September, the cutoff date for EB-3 individuals chargeable to India advanced by 243 days to September 22, 2003. There was no movement in this category in October, and the November Visa Bulletin indicates no additional movement in this category. This means that EB-3 individuals chargeable to India with a priority date prior to September 22, 2003 may continue to file AOS applications or have applications approved through November 2013.

Rest of the World

In September, the cutoff date for EB-3 individuals chargeable to the Rest of the World advanced by 547 days to July 1, 2010. There was no movement in cutoff dates in October, but the November Visa Bulletin indicates forward movement in this category of 92 days to October 1, 2010. This means that EB-3 individuals chargeable to the Rest of the World with a priority date prior to October 1, 2010 may continue to file AOS applications or have applications approved through November 2013.

Developments Affecting the F2A Family-Sponsored Category

In October, 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. The November Visa Bulletin indicates no movement of these cutoff dates. This means that AOS applicants with a priority date that falls on or after the applicable September cutoff date will be unable to file AOS applications or have applications approved in November.

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 November 2013 Visa Bulletin in its entirety, please visit the DOS website at http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_6168.html.

Written by:

Morgan Lewis
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