Department of State Releases September 2014 Visa Bulletin

by Morgan Lewis
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The bulletin shows continued forward movement in the EB-2 India category while the cutoff dates in most other employment-based categories remain unchanged.

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

After several months of significant movement in both directions, the September Visa Bulletin shows no movement in any of the employment-based categories other than continued forward movement in the EB-2 India and EB-3 Philippines categories. Such continued forward movement in the EB-2 India category cannot be guaranteed; once significant demand in this category occurs, the cutoff date is likely to once again retrogress.

The cutoff date for F2A applicants from all countries will advance significantly in September.

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

EB-2: The cutoff date of January 22, 2009 for applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to India will advance by slightly more than three months to May 1, 2009. The cutoff date of October 8, 2009 for applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to China will remain unchanged. The EB-2 category for all other countries will remain current.

EB-3: The cutoff date of November 8, 2003 for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to India will remain unchanged. The cutoff date of November 1, 2008 for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to China will also remain unchanged. The cutoff date of June 1, 2010 for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to the Philippines will advance by 10 months to April 1, 2011. The cutoff date of April 1, 2011 for applicants chargeable to Mexico and the Rest of the World will remain unchanged.

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

China: November 1, 2008 (no movement)
India: November 8, 2003 (no movement)
Mexico: April 1, 2011 (no movement)
Philippines: April 1, 2011 (forward movement of 10 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 September Visa Bulletin indicates no change to these categories. This means 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 September 2014.

China

The August Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of October 8, 2009 for EB-2 applicants chargeable to China. The September Visa Bulletin indicates no change to this cutoff date. 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 September 2014.

India

The August Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of January 22, 2009 for EB-2 applicants chargeable to India. The September Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of May 1, 2009, reflecting forward movement of 99 days. This means that applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to India with a priority date prior to May 1, 2009 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in September 2014.

The September Visa Bulletin notes that the use of potentially “otherwise unused” employment-based visa numbers prescribed by section 202(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act has allowed the cutoff date in the EB-2 India category to advance rapidly in recent months. The Visa Bulletin warns that continued forward movement of this cutoff date in upcoming months cannot be guaranteed, and no assumptions should be made until the dates are formally announced. Once there is a significant increase in demand in this category, it will be necessary to retrogress the cutoff date, possibly as early as November, to hold numbers within the fiscal year 2015 annual limit. 

Developments Affecting the EB-3 Employment-Based Category

China

The August Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of November 1, 2008 for EB-3 applicants chargeable to China. The September Visa Bulletin indicates no change to this cutoff date. This means that only applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to China with a priority date prior to November 1, 2008 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in September 2014.

India

The August Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of November 8, 2003 for EB-2 applicants chargeable to India. The September Visa Bulletin indicates no change to this cutoff date. 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 September 2014.

Rest of the World

The August Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of April 1, 2011 for EB-3 applicants chargeable to the Rest of the World. The September 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 September 2014.

Developments Affecting the F2A Family-Sponsored Category

The August Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of March 15, 2011 for F2A applicants from Mexico. The September Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of April 22, 2012, reflecting forward movement of 404 days. This means that applicants from Mexico with a priority date prior to April 22, 2012 will be able to file AOS applications or have applications approved in September 2014.

The August Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of May 1, 2012 for F2A applicants from all other countries. The September Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of January 1, 2013, reflecting forward movement of 245 days. This means that worldwide, F2A applicants with a priority date prior to January 1, 2013 will be able to file AOS applications or have applications approved in September 2014.

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

Written by:

Morgan Lewis
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