August 2019 Visa Bulletin Reveals Significant Retrogressions in Several Categories

The Department of State (DOS) releases the Visa Bulletin every month which summarizes the availability of immigrant visa numbers. The Visa Bulletin is used to determine when a foreign national’s green card application is eligible to move forward.  DOS has recently released the August 2019 visa bulletin which contains notable retrogressions in employment-based (EB) categories.  Below is a summary of the August Visa Bulletin: China: EB-1 retrogresses to July 1, 2016; EB-2 advances two months to January 1, 2017; and EB-3 moves forward six months to July 1, 2016; India: EB-1 remains stalled at January 1, 2015; EB-2 crawls ahead eight days to May 2, 2009; and EB-3 falls back more than three years to January 1, 2006; Philippines: EB-1 recedes two years to July 1, 2016; EB-2 retrogresses to January 1, 2017; and EB-3 reverts back to July 1, 2016; and  All Other Countries: EB-1 retrogresses two years to July 1, 2016; EB-2 falls back to January 1, 2017; and EB-3 retrogresses to July 1, 2016. The visa bulletin indicates that every effort will be made to return the final action dates to the same as those in the July visa bulletin at the beginning of October 2019.  Berardi Immigration Law monitors the […]
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Understanding the Visa Bulletin

The government has placed statutory limits on how many people can immigrate to the United States each year, so once you submit your application, you may have to wait until there is a visa available in the category you applied for. Each month, the Department of State (DOS) issues a visa bulletin, which indicates when visas are available based on your priority date and country of birth. Your priority date is the date that your petition was approved by USCIS. If a labor certification was required with your petition, the priority date is the date when the certification was accepted for processing by the Department of Labor.  What chart do I use? The visa bulletin contains two charts for each visa category with different dates: final action dates, and dates for filing applications. If filing via Adjustment of Status, USCIS will determine which chart controls in a given month. If filing via Immigrant Processing, the National Visa Center will reach out once you can begin these steps. In general, the green card cannot be issued until the final action date is current. Visit the USCIS website here to determine what chart you should use.  What do I do when my […]
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August 2016 Visa Bulletin: Retrogression for EB-1 India and China and EB-2 Worldwide

According to the Department of State’s August Visa Bulletin, cutoff dates for final issuance of an immigrant visa will be imposed for EB-1 India and China and for EB-2 worldwide, as projected last month. The cutoff dates for EB-1 India and China have been set at Jan. 1, 2010, while cutoff dates for EB-2 worldwide have been set at Feb. 1, 2014. According to the Department of State, it was necessary to implement this retrogression given the high demand for classification in these categories. It anticipates that these categories will be current again in October, the first month of fiscal year 2017. India and China will not be subject to the new EB-2 worldwide cutoff dates. Instead, the final action cutoff date for EB-2 India will advance by two weeks, to Nov. 15, 2004, while the final action cutoff date for EB-2 China will remain unchanged, at Jan. 1, 2010. In the EB-3 category, final action cutoff dates for professionals, skilled workers, and other workers will advance by two weeks for India, to Nov. 8, 2004, by three months for the Philippines, to May 15, 2009, and by two weeks for all other countries except China, to March 15, 2016. […]
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UPDATE: Changes Coming to Visa Bulletin, Will Impact Individuals Awaiting Permanent Residency Applications

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State (DOS) have recently announced dramatic changes coming to the visa bulletin system for the month of October 2015. These changes will allow individuals affected by visa backlogs to begin their immigrant visa paperwork or file for adjustment of status before their priority dates become current and an immigrant visa is immediately available. The visa bulletin is published each month by the Department of State and provides the most current immigrant visa availability information indicating when statutorily-limited immigrant visas are available to intending immigrants based on their individual “priority date.” A priority date is generally the date that an applicant’s relative or employer filed an immigrant visa petition on the applicant’s behalf with USCIS, or the date by which a labor certification application was filed with the U.S. Department of Labor on an applicant’s behalf.  This priority date is displayed on the Form I-797 Notice of Action regarding an applicant’s Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) or Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140). Historically, the visa bulletin has only published one chart per month for each classification of immigrant visa (Employment or Family-Based). Starting with the October Visa Bulletin, […]
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What is the Visa Bulletin?

In several of our previous blogs, you may have noticed the term “visa bulletin.” This is a term that pops up quite frequently when discussing immigration matters. The visa bulletin is a monthly online publication issued by the United States Department of State containing detailed information on the availability of immigrant visa numbers. It is typically issued in the second or third week of each month. The U.S. has placed legal limits on the number of foreign nationals that may immigrate permanently each year. These limits apply to employment based (EB), family based (FB) and diversity lottery categories (DV). The information needed to determine the availability of a visa number for a particular type of case can be found in the charts published by the visa bulletin each month. To put it simply, immigrants are categorized under those that need a waiting list (such as such as those seeking admission as the relative of a permanent resident) and those who do not need a waiting list (such as the spouse of a U.S. citizen). For those that require a waiting list, only a certain number of visas become available each year. If the number of applicants in a year is […]
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Examining Immediate Relatives and Green Card Sponsorships for Immigration Purposes

The first thing that often comes to mind when thinking about green card sponsorships are those between a U.S. citizen and his or her foreign spouse. But Mother’s Day reminds us that some people may be unaware you can also sponsor other immediate relatives – like your mother. For immigration purposes, “immediate family members” or “immediate relatives” are parents, children and spouses. For example, a person would be unable to sponsor an aunt or cousin because they are not considered immediate family members for immigration purposes. There are, of course, many requirements that must be met in order to sponsor an immediate relative. If you are sponsoring your mother or father, you must be over the age of 21. You must also be over the age of 21 in order to sponsor siblings. In order to sponsor a child, the child must not yet be considered an adult, meaning they must be under the age of 21. Some different rules may apply for stepchildren, and there are significant timing issues with sponsoring children who may be approaching their 21st birthday. There are also preference categories for family members who are not considered to be immediate relatives. Green card applicants who […]
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Movement in Visa Number Availability

Every month U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services provides a visa bulletin indicating the availability of immigrant numbers during that specific month.  Since each visa category has a numerical limitation, this bulletin provides Consular officers the priority date for the qualified applicants.   Only applicants who have a priority date earlier than the cut-off date may be allotted a number to possibly receive their permanent residence (green card) status. As of August 1, 2013, the visa numbers for certain categories have jumped a few years since July’s bulletin thus making a major number of applicants now available to pursue their green cards. The first category which showed significant movement is the family-based F2A category.  This category is for current Permanent Residents of the U.S. who have petitioned for their spouse and/or minor child (unmarried, child under 21).  In July, the F2A category was only available to those with a priority date of either October or September 2011 (depending on the country) .  Beginning August 1st, the F2A category is current, meaning visa numbers are available to all qualified applicants. The other category which showed impressive movement is the employment-based 2nd preference category for nationals of India .  In July, the EB-2nd was processing […]
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