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January 2014 Processing Times for Employment-Based (EB) Immigrant Visas

Ring in the New Year with the U.S. Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for January 2014. Here, you will find the availability of employment-based immigrant visa for the month of January 2014. If your visa category and nation of chargeability is current, a green card is immediately available to you. However, if a date is listed for your visa category and nation of chargeability, this means that category is oversubscribed and a green card is not immediately available to you. You must wait until your priority date falls before the listed date, called the cut-off date. If you want more information about the Visa Bulletin, check out our article: Understanding Immigrant Visa Allocation and Processing Times: A Story of Supply and Demand.

To give you a bird’s eye view of the processing times trends, we have included a discussion of what the current visa availability is for the month of January 2014 as compared to the visa availability for December 2013 and January 2013. These monthly and annual comparisons may provide some insight as to the processing time rates and what you may be able to expect for the following month’s visa availability.

At the Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, we have decades of combined immigration experience. If you have questions about the Visa Bulletin and how it applies to you, contact us today to consult with one of our knowledgeable attorneys

First Preference: “EB-1: Priority Workers”

For January 2014, First Preference Employment-Based Visas for Priority Workers are immediately available for qualified applicants worldwide.

Second Preference Employment-Based Visas: “EB-2: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability”

Global Glimpse: For January 2014, EB-2 visas for Mexico, the Philippines, and all other chargeability areas are immediately available as the processing time for EB-2 visas from these chargeability areas remains current since last month and last year. Qualified applicants from these foreign nations are eligible to apply for a green card immediately. Contact the Law Firm of Shihab & Associates to continue on your path to permanent residence.

EB-2 visas for China are being processed slowly but surely and the cut-off date for India EB-2 has remained the same since last month.

China: The EB-2 visa for China is still oversubscribed, but processing times are progressing forward at a monthly rate. Since December 2013, the cut-off date has progressed from November 8, 2008 to December 8, 2008. One year ago, the cut-off date for China EB-2 visas was December 8, 2007. While Charles Oppenheim of the Visa Office predicted that processing times for EB-2 visas from China will continue to move slowly, unless there is a significant and unexpected increase in demand for this visa category, it is likely that you will see the priority date-cut off jump to January 2009 for February 2014.

If your priority falls before December 8, 2008, then you are eligible to apply for your green card. Contact us to consult with an experienced attorney about your next step. If your priority date falls in January 2009, it may be time to prepare for filing your green card application as your priority date might become current in February 2014.

India: Since the dramatic retrogression of EB-2 visas for India occurred last month, the priority date cut-off has stagnated at November 15, 2004. The cut-off date one year ago was September 1, 2004, just two months earlier than the current priority date cut-off. While it is likely that the cut-off date will continue to linger here for some time, Mr. Oppenheim is anticipating that in August or September of 2014, the priority date cut-off for EB-2 visas for Indian nationals will return to pre-retrogression dates, to around December 2008.

For more information about what this means for you, or if your priority date is before November 15, 2004, contact us to speak with one of our proficient attorneys.

Third Preference Employment-Based Visas: “EB-3, Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers” and “The Other Workers” Categories

Global Glimpse : EB-3 visas and visas for Other Workers are oversubscribed worldwide. The cut-off date for China, Mexico, the Philippines and all other chargeability areas progressed overall for January 2014, but the cut-off date for India remained the same.

Mr. Oppenheim of the Visa Office recently released a statement that the Visa Office is anticipating an increased demand for EB-3 visas across the board in 2014 and has indicated that the EB-3 Worldwide category may retrogress in 2014.

China: The priority date cut-off for EB-3 visas and visas for Other Workers for China progressed by six months since December 2013, advancing from October 11, 2011 to April 1, 2012. Last January, the cut-off date for EB-3 visas was September 22, 2006 and the cut-off date for the Other Workers category was July 3, 2001. Thus, it appears that the priority date-off for EB-3 visas and visas for Other Workers from China will continue to make steady progress. Keep in mind that Mr. Oppenheim predicted that the China EB-3 visas priority date will continue to be ahead of the EB-2 priority date. Contact the Law Firm of Shihab & Associates to discuss if filing under EB-3 is a better option for you even if you qualify for EB-2.

If you have a priority date that is before April 1, 2012, a green card is immediately available to you. Consider preparing to apply for your green card in February 2014 if your priority date falls before August 2012. Contact us today to get the ball rolling.

India: After last month’s retrogression in the EB-3 and Other Workers categories for India, the priority date cut-off has remained the same since last month, lingering at September 1, 2003. You can expect processing times for EB-3 visas and visas for Other Workers to continue to move very slowly. One year ago, the priority date cut-off was November 8, 2002. If you are an Indian national and have questions about howretrogression affects for you, contact us to speak to a knowledgeable attorney.

Mexico and All Other Chargeability Areas: The priority date for EB-3 visas and visas for Other Workers for Mexico and all other chargeability areas has progressed by six months since December 2013, advancing from October 11, 2011 in November to April 1, 2012 in January 2014. If your priority date is before April 1, 2012, it’s time to file your green card application. Last year, the priority date was February 1, 2007. Considering the rate of progression, if your priority date falls before June of 2014 you may want to consider preparing your green card application for February 2014. Contact us to get ahead of the game.

Philippines: The EB-3 and Other Worker priority date cut-off for the Philippines has progressed over one month since December 2013, from January 8, 2007 to February 15, 2007. Since last year, the cut-off date for EB-3 visas and visas for Other Workers for foreign nationals from the Philippines has inched forward by only six months, from August 15, 2006 to February 15, 2007. Contact us if your priority date is before February 15, 2007 to continue the process for obtaining your green card.

Other Employment-Based Immigrant Visas:

Fourth preference employment-based visas (certain special immigrants), visas for certain religious workers and the fifth targeted employment areas (employment creation visas) are all current across the board and visas for these categories are immediately available.

Keep in mind that Mr. Oppenheim expressed concern over the rapid increased in EB-5 visa applications from China. There may be a priority date cut-off imposed for China EB-5 visas as early as June of 2014. The number of EB-5 visa applications has also gone up worldwide. If you are interested in filing for an EB-5 visa, consider getting started before a cut-off date is imposed. Contact the Law Firm of Shihab & Associates to stay ahead of the curve.

For a chart showing all processing times described above, click here.

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