The State Department’s January 2020 Visa Bulletin included projections of immigrant visa availability though April and May 2020, and EB-3 visas are expected to retrogress worldwide by March 2020. The date it will be retrogressed to will not be known until the retrogression occurs. Also in the January visa bulletin, dates for filing for EB-3 worldwide have retrogressed to January 1, 2019, except for Mainland China, the Philippines, and India. Mainland China’s cutoff date advanced by one month to December 1, 2015, the Philippines advanced by two weeks to March 15, 2018, and India remain unchanged at January 1, 2009. Before this update, EB-3 for all countries except for the three listed were current.

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.

EB-3 visas are employment-based immigration visas that are eligible for people who are skilled worker, professional, or other worker.

  • “Skilled workers” are persons whose job requires a minimum of 2 years training or work experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature
  • “Professionals” are persons whose job requires at least a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent and are a member of the professions
  • The “other workers” subcategory is for persons performing unskilled labor requiring less than 2 years training or experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature.

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