Due to continued high demand for immigrant visas, the U.S Department of State (DOS) announced cut-off dates for permanent residence applicants under the employment-based EB-1 category for India and China and all applicants in the second preference EB-2 category.
EB-1 Visas are primarily reserved for priority workers and historically remained current for all applicants throughout the year. Meaning that these applicants did not have to wait for visa availability to apply for an immigrant visa. Eligible individuals could file an adjustment without a backlog. However, the high demand led DOS to establish a January 1, 2010, cut-off date for EB-1 applicants from India and China.
EB-2 Visas are reserved for positions requiring advanced degrees and individuals of “exceptional ability.” This category is typically subject to a backlog due to high demand from India and China. However, starting in August the cut-off of February 1, 2014, will be applied to applicants from all countries.
How Long Will These Be in Effect?
The dates for both categories should become current again at the start of the new fiscal year on October 1.
Can I Avoid the Delay?
No. USCIS has stated that applicants in August and September must use the final action date and cannot use the earlier dates provided in the filing date chart.
What is the impact of the temporary retrogressions for EB-1 for China and India and EB-2 for all countries?
Adjustment of status cases that are already pending with USCIS will be held in abeyance until after the new fiscal year begins on October 1, 2016. During the August and September retrogression, USCIS will not issue approvals for adjustment of status for the affected categories. Processing for interim benefits, such as advance parole and work authorization cards, will not be affected by the retrogression. When the EB-1 India and China and worldwide EB-2 numbers become current again in October, USCIS will resume processing of those cases that are pending in the system.