May Visa Bulletin : Retrogression for EB-5 China and EB-3 Philippines While EB-3 Mexico and Others Advance

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - 1:00pm

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) released the May Visa Bulletin, providing the availability of immigrant visa numbers during May 2015. The good news is that most of the preference categories advanced: EB-3 “All Other” and Mexico employment based immigrant visa categories advanced approximately three months; EB-3 China (mainland) four months; EB-2 India about seven months; and EB-3 India one week; and EB-2 China (mainland) fourteen (14) month. The bad news is that the EB-5 China cut-off date retrogressed from being Current to a cut-off of May 1, 2013 and EB-3 Philippines retrogressed about seven years (from October 1, 2014 to July 1, 2007).

The preference categories for mainland China faired pretty well in the May Visa Bulletin as the EB-2 category jumped an incredible fourteen (14) months from April 1, 2011 to June 1, 2012. EB-3 China (mainland) bounced back after retrogressing in April (going from a cut-off of October 22, 2011 in March to a cut-off of April 11, 2011 in April) and now moving ahead slightly to May 1, 2011.

What does this mean for foreign nationals applying for permanent residence under the EB-5 China and EB-3 Philippines categories? Individuals born in the Philippines with EB-3 priority dates prior to October 1, 2014 must file their Adjustment of Status Applications or complete their Immigrant Visa Interview process abroad (if consular processing was selected) no later than April 30, 2015 and no later than May 31, 2015 if their priority date is prior to July 1, 2007. For China EB-5, anyone who is able to file their Adjustment of Status Applications or complete their Immigrant Visa Interview process abroad by April 30, 2015 should do so; otherwise, they may potentially have to wait until the visa numbers are replenished the beginning of the Fiscal Year on October 1, 2015 or possibly longer, depending on the demand for EB-5 for individuals born in mainland-born China.

What happens to individuals who have a pending Application to Adjust Status with USCIS? The USCIS will continue to adjudicate these applications, i.e. may issue Requests for Evidence, Employment Authorization Document (EAD) cards, Advance Parole (travel documents), etc. but will not be able to approve such applications until the principal applicant’s priority date becomes current once again.

Will the Cut-Off date move ahead again during this fiscal year? That depends on the number of cases filed by EB-3 Philippines applicants with very early priority dates and EB-5 mainland China applicants with priority dates prior to May 1, 2013. If the DOS sees that demand will not be greater than the numerical limit, the cut-off date may move forward prior to the end of the fiscal year on September 20, 2015. Otherwise, the cut-off date may not move again until the beginning of the next fiscal year on October 1, 2015. The October Visa Bulletin will be released in early September.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact your Maggio + Kattar attorney .