Cutoff dates in the EB-2 India category remain severely backlogged, cutoff dates in EB-3 for the Rest of the World advance by seven months, cutoff dates for China advance by nine months, and EB-3 China is still ahead of EB-2 China.

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has released its January 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 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 January 2015 Visa Bulletin Say?

The January 2015 Visa Bulletin shows no change in the cutoff date for the EB-2 India category. EB-3 cutoff dates for the worldwide category will advance by seven months, and the EB-3 cutoff dates for China will advance by nine months.

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

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 February 15, 2005. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to China will advance to February 1, 2010. 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 14 days to December 15, 2003. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to China will advance by nine months to March 1, 2011, which remains ahead of 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 seven months to June 1, 2013.

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

China: March 1, 2011 (forward movement of 273 days)
India: December 15, 2003 (forward movement of 14 days)
Mexico: June 1, 2013 (forward movement of 213 days)
Philippines: June 1, 2013 (forward movement of 213 days)
Rest of the World: June 1, 2013 (forward movement of 213 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 January 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 January 2015.

China

The December Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of January 1, 2010 for EB-2 applicants chargeable to China. The January Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of February 1, 2010, reflecting forward movement of 31 days. This means that applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to China with a priority date prior to February 1, 2010 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in January 2015.

India

The cutoff date for EB-2 applicants chargeable to India remains atFebruary 15, 2005. This means that only applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to India with a priority date prior to February 15, 2005 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in January 2015.

Developments Affecting the EB-3 Employment-Based Category

China

The December Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of June 1, 2010. The January Visa Bulletin shows a cutoff date of March 1, 2011, an advancement of nine months. This means that applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to China with a priority date prior to March 1, 2011may file AOS applications or have applications approved in January 2015.

India

The December Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of December 1, 2003. The January Visa Bulletin will advance slightly, with a cutoff date ofDecember 15, 2003. This means that EB-3 applicants chargeable to India with a priority date prior to December 15, 2003 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in January 2015.

Rest of the World

The December Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of June 1, 2012 for EB-3 applicants chargeable to the worldwide category. The January Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of November 1, 2012, reflecting forward movement of 153 days. This means that applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to the worldwide category with a priority date prior toNovember 1, 2012 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in January 2015.

Developments Affecting the F2A Family-Sponsored Category

The December Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of January 1, 2013 for F2A applicants from Mexico. The January Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of February 22, 2013, reflecting forward movement of 43 days. This means that applicants from Mexico with a priority date prior to February 22, 2013 will be able to file AOS applications or have applications approved in January 2015.

The December Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of March 22, 2013 for F2A applicants from all other countries. The January Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of April 15, 2013, reflecting forward movement of 21 days. This means that F2A applicants from all other countries with a priority date prior to April 15, 2013 will be able to file AOS applications or have applications approved in January 2015.

Developments in the Coming Months

As noted in last month’s alert, the DOS Visa Office predicts the following movement in the next three months:

F2A Family-Sponsored Category

  • The cutoff date in the F2A category will likely advance by three to five 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 five weeks per month.
  • The cutoff date in the EB-2 India category will likely remain unchanged.

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 rapidly in the next few months. Demand is expected to increase and may result in adjustments to the cutoff date by February 2015.
  • The cutoff date in the EB-3 India category will advance little, if at all.
  • 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 January 2015 Visa Bulletin in its entirety, please visit the DOS website.