The October, 2013, Visa Bulletin recently released by the Department of State (DOS) showed visa numbers had made little progress. The Bulletin comes as a sharp contrast to the September numbers, which had progressed dramatically. The lack of progression comes as little surprise, however. When the numbers advance as far as they did in September, slow progress and even retrogression become a likelihood.
Most immigrant (permanent) visa applicants are subject to quotas, meaning that there are only a certain number of visas available each year in a given category. Each time an application is filed for such a visa, it is placed at the back of the line to await availability. The date the application was filed becomes the applicant’s “priority date.” The Visa Bulletin, published each month by the DOS, shows the priority dates of the applications that are eligible to receive visas in that month. A date that appears on the Bulletin is the cut-off date, meaning that all applicants with priority dates the same as or earlier than the cut-off date are eligible to apply for adjustment of status.
Slow progression from one month to the next indicates how backlogged the processing of applications is. Retrogression occurs when the numbers actually go backwards such that an applicant could be eligible for a visa one month, and not the next month. Because of the possibility of retrogression, it is very important to file for adjustment of status immediately once your priority date becomes current.