October 2013 Visa Bulletin: Change in Dates and Predictions for What’s Next

The October 2013 visa bulletin was recently published, and it brings both good and bad news.

The bad news is that the F2A miracle has ended for now. That is, the F2A category for spouses and minor children of permanent residents has a cut-off date for October 2013. However, the cut-off date is Sept 8 2013. This means if you filed the I-130 petition before Sept 8 2013, your I-130 petition and the I-485 or consular processing will proceed (for now).

Good News

In good news, the priority date for India/EB-2 remains at June 15th 2008. Likewise, the dates for EB-3/India and for EB-3 all other countries of chargeability remain the same as well.

What Should You Do Now?

  1. If you are still interested in filing in the F2A category and you meet the requirements, keep in mind that the October visa bulletin does not take effect until October 1 and USCIS must accept the I-130 petition and concurrently filed I-485 if you are eligible for that, until the end of September. If you file the I-130 and I-485 between now and the end of September and you do not already have a priority date, USCIS will go ahead and process the I-130 petition. They will accept the I-485 application (if it's properly filed between now and the end of September). However, USCIS will hold the I-485 application (this is called holding it in abeyance) until the priority date is current.
  2. If your priority date is current in October (and September) you have at least through October to file the I-485 if you have not already. Remember, it’s often better to file earlier rather than later to allow time for unavoidable delays or accidentally sending the package to the wrong address (triple check that first!), which can cause the package to be returned to you and can take several weeks to be returned.
  3. If you have not filed and cannot file yet: keep checking the dates. Make sure that you have what you will need for the I-485 filing on hand so that you are ready to go when your turn does come. Don’t get medical exams yet as those will expire, but for example, make sure you have your birth certificate ready and translated, if necessary. If you need affidavits of birth, go ahead and obtain those. Then you will be ready to go when your date is finally current.

Visa Bulletin Predictions: November 2013 and Beyond

No one can predict with certainty what future visa bulletins will hold. It is expected that dates will not move forward tremendously in the coming months, given the high demand that the current advancements have generated. It is possible that the F2A category would retrogress more in the coming months. However, the dates for any given category will advance again at some point, so cling tight to your optimism, and hope for the best!

Do you have questions about the green card application process? Contact Attorney Emily Sumner at esumner@sumnerimmigration.com.