The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has released its December 2011 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 status to that of permanent resident, or to obtain approval of an immigrant visa application at an American embassy or consulate abroad, provided that their priority dates are prior to the cutoff dates specified by the DOS.
What Does the December 2011 Bulletin Say?
EB-1: All EB-1 categories remain current.
EB-2: Priority dates remain current for foreign nationals in the EB-2 category from all countries except China and India
The relevant priority date cutoffs for Indian and Chinese nationals are as follows:
China: March 15, 2008 (forward movement of four and one-half months)
India: March 15, 2008 (forward movement of four and one-half months)
EB-3: There is continued backlog in the EB-3 category.
The relevant priority date cutoffs for foreign nationals in the EB-3 category are as follows:
China: September 8, 2004 (forward movement of two weeks)
India: August 1, 2002 (forward movement of one week)
Mexico: January 15, 2006 (forward movement of three weeks)
Philippines: January 15, 2006 (forward movement of three weeks)
Rest of the World: January 15, 2006 (forward movement of three weeks)
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 and unchanged. 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 December 2011 Visa Bulletin in its entirety, please visit the DOS website at http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5603.html.