Department of State Releases July 2014 Visa Bulletin

by Morgan Lewis
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Bulletin shows nearly four years of advancement in the EB-2 category for applicants chargeable to India and minor advancement for applicants chargeable to China as well as significant advancement in the EB-3 category for applicants chargeable to the Philippines, minor advancement for applicants chargeable to India, and no change for applicants chargeable to China, Mexico, or the Rest of the World.

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

In July, the cutoff date for applicants in the EB-2 India category will advance by nearly four years, while the cutoff date for applicants in the EB-2 China category will advance by only 40 days. Meanwhile, the cutoff date in the EB-3 India category will advance by 17 days, while the cutoff date in the EB-3 China category will remain unchanged. The cutoff date in the F2A category for applicants from all countries will also remain unchanged.

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

EB-2: The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to India will advance by nearly four years to September 1, 2008. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to China will advance by 40 days to July 1, 2009. The EB-2 category for all other countries will remain current.

EB-3: The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to India will advance by 17 days to November 1, 2003. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to China will remain unchanged at October 1, 2006. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to the Philippines will advance by one year to January 1, 2009. The cutoff date for applicants chargeable to Mexico and all other countries will remain unchanged at April 1, 2011.

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

China: October 1, 2006 (no movement)
India: November 1, 2003 (forward movement of 17 days)
Mexico: April 1, 2011 (no movement)
Philippines: January 1, 2009 (forward movement of 366 days)
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 July Visa Bulletin indicates no change, meaning 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 July 2014.

China

The June Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of May 22, 2009 for EB-2 applicants chargeable to China. The July Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of July 1, 2009, reflecting forward movement of 40 days. This means that applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to China with a priority date prior to July 1, 2009 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in July 2014.

India

In December 2013, the cutoff date for EB-2 applicants chargeable to India retrogressed significantly to November 15, 2004 because of unprecedented demand in this category. This cutoff date remained constant through June. The July Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of September 1, 2008, reflecting forward movement of nearly four years (1,386 days). This means that applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to India with a priority date prior to September 1, 2008 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in July 2014.

Developments Affecting the EB-3 Employment-Based Category

China

In late 2013 and early 2014, the cutoff date for EB-3 applicants chargeable to China advanced significantly to generate demand in this category. In June, to regulate demand, this cutoff date retrogressed by six years to October 1, 2006. The July 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 October 1, 2006 may continue to file AOS applications or have applications approved in July 2014.

India

The June Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of October 15, 2003 for EB-3 applicants chargeable to India. The July Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of November 1, 2003, reflecting forward movement of 17 days. This means that only EB-3 applicants chargeable to India with a priority date prior to November 1, 2003 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in July 2014.

Rest of the World

From September 2013 through April 2014, the cutoff date for EB-3 applicants in the worldwide category advanced by 3.75 years. In June, to regulate the high demand, the cutoff date in this category retrogressed by 549 days to April 1, 2011. The July 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 July 2014.

Developments Affecting the F2A Family-Sponsored Category

In March, as a result of heavy demand in the F2A category from applicants chargeable to Mexico, the cutoff date in this category retrogressed significantly to April 15, 2012. In June, this cutoff date retrogressed again to March 15, 2011. The July Visa Bulletin indicates no change to this cutoff date. This means that only those applicants from Mexico with a priority date prior to March 15, 2011 will be able to file AOS applications or have applications approved in July 2014.

During fiscal year 2013, in an effort to generate demand in the F2A category from applicants from all countries other than Mexico, the cutoff date in this category advanced significantly. This advance resulted in a dramatic increase in demand, followed in June by a further retrogression of the cutoff date to May 1, 2012. The July Visa Bulletin indicates no change to this cutoff date. This means that only those F2A applicants from countries other than Mexico with a priority date prior to May 1, 2012 will be able to file AOS applications or have applications approved in July 2014. Further retrogression of the worldwide F2A category should not be ruled out.

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

 

Written by:

Morgan Lewis
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