State Department Revises October 2015 Visa Bulletin

Just like that. Just like in July 2007.

More than eight years ago after announcing that the EB3 priority dates (for professionals and skilled workers) were current, the State Department issued a statement the next day that the 3rd preference Employment-based category has retrogressed.

That was the fastest retrogression ever in recent years.

The reason: All the available visa numbers were used by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for allocation to EB3 beneficiaries in the United States seeking to adjust their status.

Yesterday, the State Department did another instant change.  And that was after announcing that starting October 2015 there will be two (2) cut off dates for each Family and Employment-based category.

The first chart would show the “Application Final Action Dates” for each category.  Applicants whose priority dates fall on the cut-off date or earlier would be eligible for visa issuance or adjustment of status.  The second chart would show dates that applicants could check to determine if they could not start their visa applications even if their priority dates are not yet current.

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCE CASES, APPLICATION FINAL DATES

On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); "C" means current, i.e., numbers are authorized for issuance to all qualified applicants; and "U" means unauthorized, i.e., numbers are not authorized for issuance. (NOTE:  Numbers are authorized for issuance only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.) 

Family-Sponsored

All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed

CHINA-mainland born

INDIA

MEXICO

PHILIPPINES

F1

15JAN08

15JAN08 

15JAN08

22NOV94

01JUN01

F2A

15APR14

15APR14

15APR14

01MAR14

15APR14

F2B

15JAN09

15JAN09

15JAN09

01AUG95 

01OCT04

F3

22MAY04

22MAY04

22MAY04

08JUN94

01OCT93

F4

08FEB03

08FEB03

08FEB03

22MAR97

01MAY92

This revised chart of Dates for Filing of Family-sponsored categories shows retrogression in the F1 and F3 categories for Mexico.  The previously published cut-off dates in these categories were “01JUL95” for the F1 and “01OCT96” for the F3 a retrogression of 3 months (F1) and 1 year-5 months (F3) respectively.

Family-

Sponsored

All Chargeability

Areas Except

Those Listed

CHINA-

mainland

born

INDIA

MEXICO

PHILIPPINES

F1

01MAY09

01MAY09

01MAY09

01APR95

01SEP05

F2A

01MAR15

01MAR15

01MAR15

01MAR15

01MAR15

F2B

01JUL10

01JUL10

01JUL10

01JAN96

01JAN05

F3

01APR05

01APR05

01APR05

01MAY95

01AUG95

F4

01FEB04

01FEB04

01FEB04

01MAY98

01JAN93

A.  APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES FOR EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CASES

On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); "C" means current, i.e., numbers are authorized for issuance to all qualified applicants; and "U" means unauthorized, i.e., numbers are not authorized for issuance. (NOTE: Numbers are authorized for issuance only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.)

Employment- Based

All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed

CHINA - mainland born

INDIA

MEXICO

PHILIPPINES

1st

C

C

C

C

C

2nd

C

01JAN12

01MAY05

C

C

3rd

15AUG15

15OCT11

08MAR04

15AUG15

01JAN07

Other Workers

15AUG15

01JAN06

08MAR04

15AUG15

01JAN07

4th

C

C

C

C

C

Certain Religious Workers

U

U

U

U

U

5th

Non-Regional?Center?(C5 and T5)

C

08OCT13

C

C

C

5th

Regional?Center?(I5 and R5)

U

U

U

U

U

The revised chart for cut-off dates in the Employment-based visa applications (below), the EB2 of China and India retrogressed. So did the EB3 and Other Workers categories of the Philippines, moving back five (5) years.

 

In the first issued Visa Bulletin, the EB3 and Other Workers cut-off dates for the Philippines were “01JAN15.”  In the revised report, this category moved back to “01JAN2010.”

B.  DATES FOR FILING OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED_VISA APPLICATIONS

The chart below reflects dates for filing visa applications within a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process. Applicants for immigrant visas who have a priority date earlier than the cut-off date in the chart may assemble and submit required documents to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, following receipt of notification from the National Visa Center containing detailed instructions. The cut-off date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who cannot submit documentation to the National Visa Center for an immigrant visa. If a category is designated “current,” all applicants in the relevant category may file, regardless of priority date.

The “C” listing indicates that the category is current, and that applications may be filed regardless of the applicant’s priority date. The listing of a date for any category indicates that only applicants with a priority date which is earlier than the listed date may file their application.

USCIS has determined that this chart may be used (in lieu of the chart in paragraph 5.A.) this month for filing applications for adjustment of status with USCIS. Applicants for adjustment of status may visit www.USCIS.gov/visabulletininfo for additional information.

Employment-

Based

All Chargeability

Areas Except

Those Listed

CHINA-

mainland

born

INDIA

MEXICO

PHILIPPINES

1st

C

C

C

C

C

2nd

C

01JAN13

01JUL09

C

C

3rd

01SEP15

01OCT13

01JUL05

01SEP15

01JAN10

Other Workers

01SEP15

01JAN07

01JUL05

01SEP15

01JAN10

4th

C

C

C

C

C

Certain Religious

Workers

C

C

C

C

C

5th Targeted

Employment Areas/

Regional Centers

and Pilot Programs

C

01MAY15

C

C

C

2007 ALL OVER AGAIN

In July 2007, the USCIS used up all the numbers, allocated to those who are in the U.S. applying for adjustment of status.

This year, after issuing the October monthly visa bulletin for October 2015, showing the forward cut-off date for the Philippines’ EB3 and Other Workers categories retrogressed as the USCIS again used up the numbers for adjustment of status applicants in the United States, causing consternation and longer waiting periods for those patiently waiting for their visas overseas.

It would not be surprising to witness an upsurge in more visa holders overstaying because those in the US get preferential treatment.

Visa Allocation

By law an immigrant visa allocation system is in place. At the beginning of each month (sometime between the 8th to 10th) the Visa Office receives reports from consular offices worldwide about applicants who are qualified for interview scheduling because they have completed their documentation, paid the fees and their priority dates are current.

The number of “documentarily qualified applicants – DQAs” are tabulated and compared to the number of visa allocations for each preference category.  If there are more DQAs than available visas in specific categories, then a category is considered oversubscribed.

For example for the F1 category, 23,400 are allocated each year.  This total is subdivided into monthly allotments for issuance to the total DQAs in this category. If the monthly allocation is 3,000 and there are only 2,000 DQAs, the category is considered “current.

On the other hand, if there are more DQAs than there are numbers in the monthly allocation, the 3001st applicant whose priority date cannot be accommodated would have to wait for the next month’s allocation.  The priority date of the 3,001st applicant becomes the cut-off date.

For October this year, the cut off date for the EB3 of Philippine applicants in the first issued Visa Bulletin was “01JAN15”.  The revised report moved back this category to “01JAN2010.”

EB3 applicants who started their documentation because of the first-issued report would have to scale back their expectations and wait. And wait.

Wait.

Maybe some of them could be thinking of applying for tourist visas and if granted, overstay. Anyway, those in the U.S. are historically rewarded simply by just being there.

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About the Author

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.


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