Expected Retrogression of Priority Dates Announced on Visa Bulletin
The Department of State Visa Office recently announced its predictions regarding the future movement of priority dates. Priority dates determine the order of immigrant visa availability and essentially establish an individual’s place in line to apply for U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident status (also known as an immigrant visa or “green card”).
As of December 2013, the Employment-Based Second Preference (“EB-2”) category for Indian nationals is expected to retrogress from the present priority date of June 15, 2008 to a date in either 2004 or 2005. The Visa Office attributes this retrogression to the “upgrading” of preference category, from the Employment-Based Third Preference (“EB-3”) category to the EB-2 category, which occurs when an employer files an EB-2 case on behalf of a foreign national previously sponsored in the EB-3 category. Presently, the EB-3 category for Indian nationals has a priority date of September 22, 2003, meaning that only those Indian nationals with a priority date before September 22, 2003 are eligible for green card issuance. Priority dates for this category are expected to continue to move slowly.
In addition, the priority date for the EB-3 category is expected to move ahead of the EB-2 category for Chinese nationals beginning in December 2013. This means that for Chinese nationals, the wait for an EB-3 priority date to become current is expected to be less than the wait for an EB-2 priority date to become current.
The Visa Office predicts that priority dates for the worldwide EB-3 category (i.e, for nationals of countries other than China, India, Mexico and the Philippines) will advance to 2011 in December 2013, from the current priority date of October 1, 2010.
The Department of State Visa Office predictions for the advancement and retrogression of priority dates are not assurances or guarantees, as visa availability from month to month is determined by usage across the various categories throughout the year, and are adjusted by the Department of State accordingly.
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