The Department of State has issued the October Visa Bulletin, reporting that priority dates in the EB-2 (advanced degree holders) India category will move only to September 1, 2004. This is particularly unwelcome news since the backlog had advanced almost three years beyond the 2004 date just a few short months ago. The Visa Office attributes this slow movement to an unexpectedly high level of EB-1 (persons of extraordinary ability and multinational managers) visa usage. (When EB-1 numbers remain unused, those numbers usually "drop down," and become available, to individuals in the EB-2 category. However, as EB-1 usage has been high in recent months, no extra unused EB-1 numbers have been available for EB-2 use). The October Visa Bulletin further notes that EB-2 China priority dates will move to July 15, 2007, while EB-2 priority dates for the rest of the world will advance to January 1, 2012. We will continue to follow the visa availability situation closely, and will keep you apprised of updates as they become available.

Israelis Eligible for Investment Visas

In June 2012, President Obama signed into law a bill which adds Israel to the list of countries whose citizens are eligible to receive E-2 (Treaty Investor) visas. That means that E-2 status is now available to Israeli nationals who will be employed in an executive, supervisory, or essential skills position by a company that is at least 50 percent-owned by Israeli nationals (provided that the company has made a substantial investment in its U.S. business). (Individuals may also qualify for E-2 status if they are the company's principal U.S. investor, although this is a much less common scenario.) E-2 visas are normally issued for five years, and there is no limit as to how long the applicant can remain in E-2 status. Upon each entry, an E-2 visa holder is admitted for a two-year period.