September 2015 Visa Bulletin: Major Retrogression for EB2 China and India

The U.S. Department of State has published the monthly “Visa Bulletin” for September 2015. The Visa Bulletin is a government publication, the primary purpose for which is to provide an updated waiting list for immigrants that are subject to the immigrant quota system. Usually the cut-off dates on the Visa Bulletin move forward in time, but not always. Demand for visa numbers by applicants with a variety of priority dates can fluctuate from one month to another, with an inevitable impact on cut-off dates. Such fluctuations can cause cut-off date movement to slow, stop or even retrogress. Visa retrogression occurs when more people apply for a visa in a particular category or country than there are visas available for that month. Retrogression typically occurs toward the end of the fiscal year as visa issuance approaches the annual category or per-country limitations. Sometimes a priority date that meets the cut-off date one month will not meet the cut-off date the next month. When the new fiscal year begins on October 1, a new supply of visas is made available and usually, but not always, returns the dates to where they were before retrogression.

The September 2015 Visa Bulletin shows slight forward movement in most categories, with some exceptions. Specifically, employment-based second preference (EB2) for individuals born in mainland China and individuals born in India shows a significant retrogression. On September 1, 2015, EB2 for individuals born in mainland China will retrogress from December 15, 2013 to January 1, 2006, and EB2 for individuals born in India will retrogress from October 1, 2008 to January 1, 2006. It is critical for individuals born in China and India with pending or approved EB2 petitions, whose priority date is prior to December 15, 2003 and October 1, 2008 respectively, but after January 1, 2006, to consult with experienced immigration counsel immediately to discuss their options before the retrogression occurs on September 1, 2015.

Individuals with pending or approved petitions who are subject to annual immigrant number limitations should monitor the Visa Bulletin closely.

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