Visa Bulletin Predictions for February 2014 and Beyond

The January 2014 visa bulletin was published this week. Sadly, it did not bring glad tidings of great joy, especially for India/EB-2. The Department of State’s Visa Office has recently provided the following information on recent demand in the employment-based immigrant visa categories:

  • There has been unprecedented demand for the India/EB-2 category, which explains the lack of movement (and recent retrogression to 2004). The Visa Office reports that they have received requests for up to 150 green card numbers a day for EB-2/India from USCIS. Most of these requests have been based on “upgrades” from EB-3 to EB-2.
  • The Visa Office anticipates that it is possible that the priority date for India/EB-2 would advance to around December 2008 towards the end of the fiscal year, in August or September 2014. However, keep in mind that this is just an approximation and there is no guarantee of this.
  • In better news, the worldwide EB-3 numbers moved forward a year in the December visa bulletin, based on low usage rates for this category. As we move through the year, demand for this category may increase, and the priority date may retrogress.
  • It is also anticipated that the EB-3/India category will continue to move slowly.
  • It is expected that the EB-2/worldwide category will remain current for the foreseeable future (again, never a guarantee).

In the family-based realm, it is anticipated that the family-based F-2A category will remain at its current date, with the exception of Mexico, which has retrogressed per the January 2014 visa bulletin.

What does this mean for you?

Each person’s strategy will be different according to your unique situation. However, if you are in the India/EB-3 category, you may consider whether you are eligible to upgrade to the EB-2 category. In some instances, a person will have advanced in their career and their new position now requires a minimum of a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree plus five years of progressive experience. Our office has assisted some clients who did not previously qualify for the EB-2 category because they did not have a master’s degree or equivalent. However, they have subsequently taken the required final exams for a master’s degree program that they started earlier but not finished, and have since successfully filed for the EB-2 classification, retaining the earlier EB-3 priority date.

If you start the new labor certification process now for the EB-2 category, it’s possible you would have the labor certification approved and be set to file an EB-2 I-140 petition and possibly concurrently file the I-485 (if not yet filed) when the EB-2/India dates move forward this coming fall. It’s all about planning ahead!

If you do not yet have a priority date set, now is the time to being the permanent residence process, if having a green card is in your long-term plans.

Remember, many categories are not retrogressed at all, including most of the EB-2 categories, and all of the EB-1 categories. That means that you can file the I-140 petition and I-485 application for permanent residence together at the same time.

Start the process now to make great progress on your 2014 goal of obtaining permanent residence! Questions? Please contact us at 804-396-3412 or to set a time for a consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!