Good news came with the Department of State’s (DOS) recent release of the September 2013 Visa Bulletin. The cut-off dates for visas in the employment-based visa categories have progressed dramatically since last month. In particular, the September Bulletin shows the EB-2 category for professionals holding advanced degrees and persons of extraordinary ability, as well as the EB-3 category for skilled workers and professionals have advanced significantly.
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. A cut-off date that is closer to the current date means applications are slightly less backlogged.
According to the September Bulletin, applicants in the traditionally slow-moving Indian EB-2 category with priority dates of June 15, 2008 or earlier are eligible for visas in September, demonstrating a jump of more than 6 months from last month. Additionally, the entire EB-3 category has moved forward significantly, with applications from most countries, including China, moving forward by a full year and a half.