The U.S. State Department has just released the September 2013 Visa Bulletin which is the last Visa Bulletin for the FY2013 fiscal year. The major headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is the continued significant forward movement in EB-2 India, the significant forward movement in EB-3 and the fact that FB-2A remains current for every country but with an expected cutoff date next month.
Summary of the September 2013 Visa Bulletin – Employment-Based (EB)
Below is a summary of the September 2013 Visa Bulletin with respect to employment-based petitions:
- EB-1 remains current across the board.
- EB-2 for ROW, Mexico and Philippines are all current. EB-2 India moves forward (again) by six (6) months to June 15, 2008. EB-2 China remains unchanged at August 8, 2008.
- EB-3 ROW, China and Mexico move forward significantly by eighteen (18) months to July 1, 2010. EB-3 Philippines moves forward by five (5) weeks to December 1, 2006, while EB-3 India moves forward significantly by nine (9) months to September 22, 2003.
- The “other worker” category moves forward significantly by eighteen (18) months to July 1, 2010 for ROW and Mexico to July 1, 2010. It moves forward by five (5) weeks to December 1, 2006 for Philippines and moves forward by two and a half (2.5) months to June 15, 2004 for China. There is forward movement by nine (9) months for India to September 22, 2003.
Summary of the September 2013 Visa Bulletin – Family-Based (FB)
Below is a summary of the September 2013 Visa Bulletin with respect to family-based petitions:
- FB-1 continues to move forward, although slowly. FB-1 ROW, China and India all move forward by two (2) weeks to September 15, 2006. FB-1 Mexico moves forward by only one (1) week to September 8, 1993 and FB-1 Philippines moves forward by four (4) months to May 8, 2001.
- FB-2A continues to remain current for everyone.
- FB-2B ROW, China and India all move forward by two and a half (2.5) months to February 15, 2006. FB-2B Mexico moves forward by three (3) weeks to February 22, 1994 while FB-2B Philippines moves forward by one (1) month to January 22, 2003.
EB-2 India Moves Forward Again
Until a month ago, EB-2 India had been stuck at September 1, 2004 (since the October 2012 Visa Bulletin) – this is when EB-2 India retrogressed significantly and until today there had been no movement in this category. After the August 2013 Visa Bulletin showed significant forward movement for EB-2 India, we welcome the continuing forward movement in this category in the September 2013 Visa Bulletin. Although this month’s movement of about six month may not be significant enough for many, it is still a very notable forward movement which would allow many EB-2 India applicants to either complete their I-485 processing or file an I-485 for themselves or their dependents.
The Department of State has indicated that this significant advancement has been done in order to utilize all of the available visa numbers for the fiscal year (which ends on September 30th). The Department of State and USCIS are expecting (and our office already has seen) increased activity in this category — National Visa Center (NVC) case processing and I-485 adjustment of status activity at USCIS. It should be noted that with the increased activity over the next few months in EB-2 India, slowdown and even retrogression are possible.
EB-3 Moves Forward Significantly
In addition to EB-2 India, the September 2013 Visa Bulletin brings good news to folks under the EB-3 category. The most notable movement is for ROW, China and Mexico where the movement is by eighteen months. EB-3 India also moves nicely forward – by 9 months. EB-3 Philippines may be disappointed by the relatively slow movement of about five weeks. This significant forward movement is caused in an effort to make sure that there are no unused visa numbers for the fiscal year (to end on September 30th).
FB-2A Remains Current – Spouses and Children of Green Card Holders – Cutoff Date Upcoming
Another very significant development brought by the August 2013 Visa Bulletin and continuing (as expected) for the September 2013 Visa Bulletin is making FB-2A current for all countries. The Department of State has indicated that this category will continue to be “Current” for September and is expected to remain so for the next few months. The reason is that the Department of State wants to stimulate an increased level of “demand” (filings) in this category. The Department of State reports that even though there are large amounts of registered F2A demand, currently there are not enough applicants (NVC fees paid and I-485 adjustment of status cases filed) who are actively pursuing final action on their case to fully utilize all of the available numbers.
It is important to note that the Department of State has indicated that a cutoff date will be imposed for the October 2013 Visa Bulletin. As a result, it is important for those who are eligible to file under the FB-2A category to do so as soon as possible.
No Movement in EB-2 China
Those of our clients who are in the EB-2 China category will find it disappointing that there is no movement in the EB-2 China category (again!). Hopefully, with the new fiscal year beginning on October 1st, the next Visa Bulletin would bring better news for EB-2 China.
Current Priority Date?
Our office stands ready to assist in the applicable process to take advantage of this significant movement in the cutoff dates across many of the categories, specifically in EB-2 India, EB-3 and FB-2A all countries. Those applicants whose priority dates are current as of the September 2013 Visa Bulletin may be eligible to process their (and their family members’) I-485 Adjustment of Status applications from within the U.S. or process their immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad. Please do not hesitate to contact us if our office can help you take advantage of this significant forward movement in the cutoff dates. We are also happy to provide a free quote for preparing and filing your I-485 application.
Further Updates and News
We invite you to subscribe to our free weekly immigration newsletter to receive timely updates on this and related topics. We also invite you to contact us if our office can be of any assistance in your immigration matters or you have any questions or comments about the September 2013 Visa Bulletin. Finally, if you already haven’t, please consider our Visa Bulletin Predictions tool which provides personalized predictions and charts helping you understand when a particular priority date may become current and what are the movement patterns.