Department of State Releases December 2014 Visa Bulletin

The Bulletin shows that cutoff dates in the EB-2 India category remain severely backlogged, cutoff dates in EB-3 for the Rest of the World and China advance by five months, and EB-3 China is now ahead of EB-2 China.

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has released its December 2014 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 statuses to that of permanent residents or to obtain approval of immigrant visas at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad, provided that their priority dates are prior to the respective cutoff dates specified by the DOS.

What Does the December 2014 Visa Bulletin Say?

The December Visa Bulletin shows no change in the cutoff date for the EB-2 India category. EB-3 cutoff dates for the Rest of the World and China will advance by five months.

The cutoff date for F2A applicants from all countries will advance slightly in December.

EB-1: All EB-1 categories will remain current.

EB-2: The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to India will remain at February 15, 2005. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to China will advance to January 1, 2010. The EB-2 category for all other countries will remain current.

EB-3: The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to India will advance by seven days to December 1, 2003. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to China will advance by five months to June 1, 2010, which is now ahead of the cutoff date for EB-2 China. The cutoff date for applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to the Philippines, Mexico, and the Rest of the World will advance by five months to November 1, 2012.

The relevant priority date cutoffs for foreign nationals in the EB-3 category are as follows:

China: June 1, 2010 (forward movement of 152 days)
India: December 1, 2003 (forward movement of 7 days)
Mexico: November 1, 2012 (forward movement of 153 days)
Philippines: November 1, 2012 (forward movement of 153 days)
Rest of the World: November 1, 2012 (forward movement of 153 days)

Developments Affecting the EB-2 Employment-Based Category

Mexico, the Philippines, and the Rest of the World

The EB-2 category for applicants chargeable to all countries other than China and India has been current since November 2012. The December Visa Bulletin indicates no change to this trend. This means that applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to all countries other than China and India may continue to file AOS applications or have applications approved through December 2014.

China

The November Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of December 8, 2009 for EB-2 applicants chargeable to China. The December Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of January 1, 2010, reflecting forward movement of 23 days. This means that applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to China with a priority date prior to January 1, 2010 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in December 2014.

India

The cutoff date for EB-2 applicants chargeable to India remains at February 15, 2005. This means that only applicants in the EB-2 category chargeable to India with a priority date prior to February 15, 2005 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in December 2014.

Developments Affecting the EB-3 Employment-Based Category

China

The November Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of January 1, 2010. The December Visa Bulletin remains unchanged, with a cutoff date of June 1, 2010. This means that applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to China with a priority date prior to June 1, 2010 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in December 2014.

India

The November Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of November 22, 2003. The December Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of December 1, 2003, reflecting forward movement of seven days. This means that EB-3 applicants chargeable to India with a priority date prior to December 1, 2003 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in December 2014.

Rest of the World

The November Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of June 1, 2012 for EB-3 applicants chargeable to the Rest of the World. The December Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of November 1, 2012, reflecting forward movement of 153 days. This means that applicants in the EB-3 category chargeable to the Rest of the World with a priority date prior to November 1, 2012 may file AOS applications or have applications approved in December 2014.

Developments Affecting the F2A Family-Sponsored Category

The November Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of September 22, 2012 for F2A applicants from Mexico. The December Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of January 1, 2013, reflecting forward movement of 75 days. This means that applicants from Mexico with a priority date prior to January 1, 2013 will be able to file AOS applications or have applications approved in December 2014.

The November Visa Bulletin indicated a cutoff date of March 1, 2013 for F2A applicants from all other countries. The December Visa Bulletin indicates a cutoff date of March 22, 2013, reflecting forward movement of 21 days. This means that F2A applicants from all other countries with a priority date prior to March 22, 2013 will be able to file AOS applications or have applications approved in December 2014.

Developments in the Coming Months

As noted in last month’s alert, the DOS Visa Office predicts the following movement in the next three months:

F2A Family-Sponsored Category

  • The cutoff date in the F2A category will likely advance by three to five weeks per month.

Employment-Based Second Preference Category

  • The worldwide category will likely remain current.
  • The cutoff date in the EB-2 China category will likely advance by three to five weeks per month.
  • The cutoff date in the EB-2 India category will likely remain unchanged.

Employment-Based Third Preference Category

  • The cutoff date in the EB-3 worldwide category will continue to advance rapidly for the next several months. Demand is expected to increase significantly, at which point, the cutoff dates will be adjusted accordingly.
  • The cutoff date in the EB-3 China category is expected to advance rapidly in the next few months. Demand is expected to increase and may result in adjustments to the cutoff date by February 2015.
  • The cutoff date in the EB-3 India category will advance little, if at all.
  • The cutoff date in the EB-3 Mexico category will remain at the worldwide date.
  • The cutoff date in the EB-3 Philippines category will remain at the worldwide date. Increased demand in this category may result in adjustments to the cutoff date later in the fiscal year.

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. 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 2014 Visa Bulletin in its entirety, please visit the DOS website.