In the newly released January visa bulletin, EB-2 and EB-3 visas remain current for most countries. EB-2 in China have advanced for one month to August 1, 2015 and India has remained at April 1, 2009. EB-3 for the Philippines advanced one week to June 22, 2017. EB-1 categories for all countries remain regressed. EB-1 for China and India has advanced to December 15, 2016, and for all over countries to October 1, 2017. The EB-5 Regional Center Program along with the EB-4 Non-Minister Religious Worker program are both set to expire on December 21, 2018 with the continuing budget resolution. Unless Congress reauthorizes these programs by December 21, immigrant visas in these categories will become unavailable from that date.
Every year, Congress sets limits on the number of immigrant visas that can be issued each year. In order to adjust status to that of a legal permanent resident, also known as a Green Card holder, an immigrant visa must be available to the applicant both at the time of filing and at the time of adjudication. Visa retrogression happens when a country’s visa allowance is not “current”, but rather a cutoff date is imposed on its applicants. The Department of State publishes a monthly Visa Bulletin which lists the cutoff dates that govern visa availability. It determines which applicants are eligible to file for adjustment of status, as well as which applicants are eligible for permanent resident status. Applicants who have a priority date earlier than the cutoff date published in the most current Visa Bulletin are eligible to apply for permanent residence.
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