Cutoff dates in the EB-2 India category advance by eight months, cutoff dates in EB-3 for the Rest of the World advance by four months, cutoff dates in the EB-2 China advance by seven months, and cutoff dates for China EB-3 retrogress by nearly 10 months, which puts EB-2 China ahead of EB-3 China again.

The US Department of State (DOS) has released its April 2015 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 US embassy or consulate abroad, provided that their priority dates are prior to the respective cutoff dates specified by the DOS.

What Does the April 2015 Visa Bulletin Say?

The April 2015 Visa Bulletin shows an advancement of eight months for the EB-2 India category. EB-3 cutoff dates for the worldwide category will advance by four months, the EB-2 cutoff dates for China will advance by seven months, and the EB-3 cutoff dates for China will retrogress by nearly 10 months.

The cutoff date for F2A applicants from all countries will advance slightly in April.

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 to September 1, 2007. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to China will advance to April 1, 2011. 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 one week to January 8, 2004. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to China will retrogress by nearly 10 months to January 1, 2011, which once again is behind the cutoff date for EB-2 China. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to the Philippines, Mexico, and the worldwide category will advance by four months to October 1, 2014.

The relevant priority date cutoffs for foreign nationals in the EB-2 category are as follows:

China: April 1, 2011 (forward movement of 212 days)

India: September 1, 2007 (forward movement of 243 days)

Mexico: Current

Philippines: Current

Rest of the World: Current

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

China: January 1, 2011 (retrogression of 294 days)

India: January 8, 2004 (forward movement of 7 days)

Mexico: October 1, 2014 (forward movement of 122 days)

Philippines: October 1, 2014 (forward movement of 122 days)

Rest of the World: October 1, 2014 (forward movement of 122 days)

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 April Visa Bulletin indicates no change to this trend. 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 April 2015.

China

The March Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of September 1, 2010 for EB-2 applicants chargeable to China. The April Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of April 1, 2011, reflecting forward movement of seven months. This means that applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to China with a priority date prior to April 1, 2011 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in April 2015.

India

The March Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of January 1, 2007 for EB-2 applicants chargeable to India. The cutoff date for EB-2 applicants chargeable to India advances by eight months to September 1, 2007. This means that only applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to India with a priority date prior to September 1, 2007 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in April 2015.

Developments Affecting the EB-3 Employment-Based Category

China

The March Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of October 22, 2011 for EB-3 applicants chargeable to China. The April Visa Bulletin shows a cutoff date of January 1, 2011, a retrogression of nearly 10 months. This means that applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to China with a priority date prior to January 1, 2011 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in April 2015.

India

The March Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of January 1, 2004. The April Visa Bulletin will advance slightly, with a cutoff date of January 8, 2004, an advancement of one week. This means that EB-3 applicants chargeable to India with a priority date prior to January 8, 2004 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in April 2015.

Rest of the World

The March Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of June 1, 2014 for EB-3 applicants chargeable to the worldwide category. The April Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of October 1, 2014, reflecting forward movement of four months. This means that applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to the worldwide category with a priority date prior to October 1, 2014 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in April 2015.

Developments Affecting the F2A Family-Sponsored Category

The March Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of May 22, 2013 for F2A applicants from Mexico. The April Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of July 8, 2013, reflecting forward movement of 47 days. This means that applicants from Mexico with a priority date prior to July 8, 2013 will be able to file AOS applications or have applications approved in April 2015.

The March Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of June 22, 2013 for F2A applicants from all other countries. The April Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of August 1, 2013, reflecting forward movement of 40 days. This means that F2A applicants from all other countries with a priority date prior to August 1, 2013 will be able to file AOS applications or have applications approved in April 2015.

Developments in the Coming Months

Regarding the retrogression of visa numbers for EB-3 China, the DOS notes that “Continued heavy demand by applicants with very early priority dates has required a retrogression of this cut-off date for the month of April, to hold number use within the annual numerical limit. Potential forward movement of this cut-off date during the remainder of the fiscal year is dependent on the amount of demand received for applicants with very early priority dates.” 

F2A Family-Sponsored Category

  • The cutoff date in the F2A category will likely advance by three to four weeks per month.

Employment-Based Second Preference Category

  • The worldwide category will likely remain current.
  • The cutoff date in the EB-2 China category will likely advance by three to six weeks per month.
  • The cutoff date in the EB-2 India category will likely advance by four to six months.

Employment-Based Third Preference Category

  • The cutoff date in the EB-3 worldwide category will continue to advance rapidly for the next several months. Demand is expected to increase significantly, at which point, the cutoff dates will be adjusted accordingly.
  • The cutoff date in the EB-3 China category is expected to advance by three to six weeks per month.
  • The cutoff date in the EB-3 India category will advance up to two weeks.
  • The cutoff date in the EB-3 Mexico category will remain at the worldwide date.
  • The cutoff date in the EB-3 Philippines category will remain at the worldwide date. Increased demand in this category may result in adjustments to the cutoff date later in the fiscal year.

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 April 2015 Visa Bulletin in its entirety, please visit the DOS website.