Cutoff dates for EB-3 Philippines available, but backlogged to 2004. Cutoff dates for EB-3 China backlogged to 2004, while cutoff dates for Mexico and the rest of the world advance by three and a half months. Cutoff dates for EB-2 China advance by two and a half months, cutoff dates for EB-2 India advance by four months.

The US Department of State (DOS) has released its August 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 AUGUST 2015 VISA BULLETIN SAY?

The August 2015 Visa Bulletin shows a large retrogression of visa numbers for EB-3 China, an advancement of two and a half months for the EB-2 China allotment. Visas for the EB-3 category for the Philippines will again become available, although they will be backlogged to June 1, 2004. The cutoff date for F2A applicants in China, India, Philippines, and the Rest of the World will advance by five weeks in August. The cutoff date for F2A applicants from Mexico will advance by five weeks as well.

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 December 15, 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 four months to June 1, 2004. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to China will retrogress to June 1, 2004. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to Mexico and the worldwide category will advance by three and a half months to July 15, 2015. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to the Philippines has retrogressed to June 1, 2004.

EB-5: The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-5 category chargeable to China remains at 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: December 15, 2011 (forward movement of 75 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: June 1, 2004 (retrogression of 2,648 days)

India: June 1, 2004 (forward movement of 121 days)

Mexico: July 15, 2015 (forward movement of 105 days)

Philippines: June 1, 2004 

Rest of the World: July 15, 2015 (forward movement of 105 days)

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

China: September 1, 2013 (no change)

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 August 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 August 2015.

China

The July Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of October 1, 2013 for EB-2 applicants chargeable to China. The August Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of December 15, 2015, reflecting forward movement of 75 days. This means that applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to China with a priority date prior to December 15, 2013 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in August 2015.

India

The July Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of October 1, 2008 for EB-2 applicants chargeable to India. This remains unchanged in August. 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 August 2015.

DEVELOPMENTS AFFECTING THE EB-3 EMPLOYMENT-BASED CATEGORY

China

The July Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of September 1, 2011 for EB-3 applicants chargeable to China. In August, the cutoff date for EB-3 applicants chargeable to China retrogresses by over seven years to June 1, 2004. This means that applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to China with a priority date prior to June 1, 2004 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in August 2015.

India

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

The Philippines

The July Visa Bulletin indicated that visa numbers were unavailable. The August Visa Bulletin reflects that visa numbers are again available, and that visa numbers for EB-3 applicants chargeable to the Philippines with a priority date prior to June 1, 2004 will be eligible to file AOS applications or have applications approved in August 2015.

Mexico

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

Rest of the World

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

DEVELOPMENTS AFFECTING THE F2A FAMILY-SPONSORED CATEGORY

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

The July Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of November 8, 2013 for F2A applicants from all other countries. The August Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of December 15, 2013, reflecting forward movement of five weeks. This means that F2A applicants from all other countries with a priority date prior to December 15, 2013 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in August 2015.

DEVELOPMENTS IN THE COMING MONTHS

Regarding the retrogression of visa numbers for China EB-3, the DOS notes that “[E]very effort will be made to return China EB-3 and Third Other Worker categories to the previously announced July cut-off dates as quickly as possible under the FY-2016 annual limits.”

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