When Will I Ever Get My Green Card?!

What Happened to the October Visa Bulletin?

The October visa bulletin was posted earlier this week. Earlier this summer, Department of State officials anticipated that:

  • The EB-2 priority dates for “all other countries” (other than China, India, Mexico, and Philippines) would be “current”
  • The EB-2 priority date for India and China would be 2007, and
  • We would see movement in the EB-3 priority dates across the board

Would-be green card holders and immigration attorneys alike were surprised to see that few of these predictions were actually met in the October visa bulletin. In actuality, there is a “cut-off date” for EB-2 for all other countries of January 2012. While China’s priority date did move up to 2007, the EB-2 date for India remains woefully behind in 2002 and there were few positive changes on the EB-3 level.

Why the departure from the expected? The staff of the Visa Office (the office that calculates the monthly visa allocations and therefore determines what the visa bulletin will look like each month) have explained that to determine what priority dates will be current and where there will be a cut-off, they gather data from all consular posts and USCIS offices as to how many immigrant visa applications (i.e. green card applications) those offices have that are ready to be approved. Those applications are organized according to the chargeability (country of birth), preference category (EB-1, EB-2, etc) and priority date. So for example, if the targeted allocation for EB-2 all other countries is 3,000 for the month, and the Visa Office has determined that there are only 1,000 such cases pending in the consulates and USCIS, that category will be “current” in the visa bulleting. If there were 5,000 of those cases pending, the category is considered “oversubscribed” and a cut-off date is established. Unfortunately, it seems that the consular offices and USCIS offices had more cases ready for approval than anticipated by the Visa Office, resulting in skewed (and erroneous) predictions by the Visa Office.

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The information above is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. Do not take or refrain from taking any action prior to consulting with an experienced immigration attorney.