The Department of State ("DOS") has issued its Visa Bulletin for October 2012. This bulletin determines who can apply for U.S. permanent residence and when. The cutoff dates for family-based immigration continue to show backlogs and regressions due to the heavy demand for these visas. On the employment-based side, the October 2012 Visa Bulletin showed that the Second Preference ("EB-2") for China and India changed from "unavailable" to July 15, 2007, and September 1, 2004, respectively. The EB-2 cutoff date for the rest of the world advanced to January 1, 2012. In the October 2012 Visa Bulletin, the cutoff dates for the Employment-Based Third Preference ("EB-3") category are as follows: October 22, 2006, for all chargeability, including Mexico; February 8, 2006, for China; October 15, 2002, for India; and August 1, 2006, for the Philippines. The DOS's monthly Visa Bulletin is available at

On August 30, 2012, the DOS's Visa Office discussed its predictions regarding the demand for employment-based immigrant visas for fiscal year ("FY") 2012 and FY 2013. Pertinent observations included:

  1. First Preference ("EB-1"): Demand is unusually high. The visa classification could close briefly if this continues.
  2. EB-2 Worldwide: Demand remains very high. It will not recover entirely in October 2012 but should become current later this year.
  3. EB-2 India: This category is expected to advance slowly throughout the balance of 2012 and through 2013.
  4. EB-2 China: This category may advance faster than EB-2 India but will continue to advance slowly.
  5. EB-3 Worldwide: Steady but slow progress is anticipated for the rest of 2012 and 2013.