Cutoff dates for EB-3 Philippines become unavailable, cutoff dates for EB-2 China advance by four months, and cutoff dates for EB-3 for Mexico and the Rest of the World advance by six weeks.

The US Department of State (DOS) has released its July 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 July 2015 Visa Bulletin Say?

The July 2015 Visa Bulletin shows an advancement of four months for the EB-2 China allotment, and visas for the EB-3 category for the Philippines will become unavailable. The cutoff date for F2A applicants in China, India, Philippines, and the Rest of the World will advance by five weeks in July. The cutoff date for F2A applicants from Mexico will also advance by five weeks.

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 remain at October 1, 2008. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to China will advance to October 1, 2013. 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 nine days to February 1, 2004. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to China will remain at September 1, 2011. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to Mexico and the worldwide category will advance by six weeks to April 1, 2015. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to the Philippines will become unavailable.

EB-5: The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-5 category chargeable to China will advance by three months to September 1, 2013. The cutoff dates for applicants in the EB-5 category chargeable to the worldwide category remain current.

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

China: October 1, 2013 (forward movement of 122 days)

India: October 1, 2008 (no change)

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: September 1, 2011 (no change)

India: February 1, 2015 (forward movement of 9 days)

Mexico: April 1, 2015 (forward movement of 45 days)

Philippines: Unavailable 

Rest of the World: April 1, 2015 (forward movement of 45 days)

The relevant priority date cutoffs for foreign nationals in the EB-5 category are as follows:

China: September 1, 2013 (forward movement of 92 days)

Rest of the World: Current

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 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 July 2015.

China

The June Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of June 1, 2013 for EB-2 applicants chargeable to China. The July Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of October 1, 2013, reflecting forward movement of one year. This means that applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to China with a priority date prior to October 1, 2013 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in July 2015.

India

The June Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of October 1, 2008 for EB-2 applicants chargeable to India. In July, the cutoff date for EB-2 applicants chargeable to India remains unchanged. This means that applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to India with a priority date prior to October 1, 2008 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in July 2015.

Developments Affecting the EB-3 Employment-Based Category

China

The June Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of September 1, 2011 for EB-3 applicants chargeable to China. In July, the cutoff date for EB-3 applicants chargeable to China remains unchanged. This means that applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to China with a priority date prior to September 1, 2011 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in July 2015.

India

The June Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of January 22, 2004. The July Visa Bulletin will advance slightly, with a cutoff date of February 1, 2004, an advancement of nine days. This means that EB-3 applicants chargeable to India with a priority date prior to February 1, 2004 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in July 2015.

The Philippines

The June Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of July 1, 2007. The July Visa Bulletin shows that visa numbers for EB-3 applicants chargeable to the Philippines will not be eligible to file AOS applications or have applications approved in July 2015.

Mexico

The June Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of February 15, 2015 for EB-3 applicants chargeable to Mexico. The July Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of April 1, 2015, reflecting forward movement of six weeks. This means that applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to Mexico with a priority date prior to April 1, 2015 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in July 2015.

Rest of the World

The June Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of February 15, 2015 for EB-3 applicants chargeable to the worldwide category. The July Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of April 1, 2015, reflecting forward movement of six weeks. This means that applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to the worldwide category with a priority date prior to April 1, 2015 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in July 2015.

Developments Affecting the F2A Family-Sponsored Category

The June Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of August 8, 2013 for F2A applicants from Mexico. The July Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of September 15, 2013, reflecting advancement of two months. This means that applicants from Mexico with a priority date prior to September 15, 2013 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in July 2015.

The June Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of October 1, 2013 for F2A applicants from all other countries. The July Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of November 8, 2013, reflecting forward movement of one month. This means that F2A applicants from all other countries with a priority date prior to November 8, 2013 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in July 2015.

Developments in the Coming Months

Regarding the retrogression of visa numbers for EB-5 China, the DOS notes that “It is extremely likely that this category will remain subject to a cut-off date indefinitely.”

Regarding the availability of visa numbers for EB-3 Philippines, the DOS notes that “it is possible that some unused numbers from the Second preference category may become available for September use. If not, Philippines Third preference numbers will once again be available beginning October 1, 2015 under the FY-2016 annual numerical limitations.”

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