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

The U.S. Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for February 2014. Below you will find a discussion of the visa availability for the employment-based immigrant visa categories, including an analysis of monthly and annual trends in processing times. 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.

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”

There is no wait time for First Preference (EB-1) Priority Workers.

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

Global Glimpse: In February 2014, EB-2 visas for Mexico, the Philippines, and all other chargeability areas continue to be current and immediately available to eligible nationals of these areas. Contact the Law Firm of Shihab & Associates to continue on your path to permanent residence.

EB-2 visas for China are being processed at a monthly rate and the cut-off date for India EB-2 has remained the same since last December 2013.

China: As predicted last month, the cut-off date for EB-2 visas for Chinese nationals has progressed by one month, from December 8, 2008 to January 8, 2009. Last year, the cut-off date was January 15, 2008. The progression of EB-2 visas for Chinese nationals has moved at a monthly rate. Thus, you can expect to see another one month jump to early February in the March 2014 Visa Bulletin. If your priority date is current or if it falls sometime in February, contact us to consult with an experienced attorney about your next step.

India: After the December 2013 retrogression of EB-2 visas for India, the priority date cut-off has stood still at November 15, 2004. While you probably can’t expect progress anytime soon, Charles Oppenheim of the Visa Office predicted that the priority date cut-off for EB-2 visas for Indian nationals will return to pre-retrogression dates, to around December 2008 in August or September of 2014.

If your priority date is November 15, 2004 and you still haven’t applied to receive your green card, 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: The EB-3 visa category is oversubscribed across the board. Although Mr. Oppenheim predicted that increased demand for EB-3 visas may result in retrogression in 2014, so far so good. The cut-off date for China, Mexico, the Philippines and all other chargeability areas progressed by two months in February 2014, but the cut-off date for India continues to remain at a standstill.

China: From January to February 2014, the priority date cut-off for EB-3 visas and visas for Other Workers for China progressed by two months, from April 1, 2012 to June 1, 2012. It’s likely that 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. Read more about this option here.

If your priority date is before June 1, 2012, contact us today to continue the green card application process.

India: The priority date cut-off for EB-3 visas for Indian nationals has not changed since the retrogression in December 2013, lingering at September 1, 2003. Expect stagnation or very slow movement in this category until at least late summer. To learn more about retrogression, contact us to speak to a knowledgeable attorney.

Mexico and All Other Chargeability Areas: As predicted, the priority date cut-off has progressed by two months, from April 1, 2012 to June 1 2012. If your priority date is before June 1, 2012, it’s time to file your green card application. Last year, the priority date was March 15, 2007. We predict that the cut-off date will jump another two months in the March 2014 Visa Bulletin. Thus, if your priority date falls before August 2012, you may want to begin your application process now. Contact us to be ahead of the game.

Philippines: We saw a two month progression of the cut-off date for the EB-3 and Other Worker visa category for the Philippines, advancing from February 15, 2007 to April 15, 2007. The cut-off date has progressed by eight months since last year. Contact us if your priority date is before April 15, 2007 to continue the process for obtaining your green card.

Other Employment-Based Immigrant Visas:

Fourth preference employment-based visas (“EB-4” - certain special immigrants), visas for certain religious workers and the fifth targeted employment areas (“EB-5” - employment creation visas) are all current worldwide, meaning visas for these categories are immediately available.

Remember that there may be a priority date cut-off imposed for China EB-5 visas as early as June of 2014 due to the increased EB-5 applications coming in from China. In fact, the number of EB-5 visa applications has increased worldwide. Thus, if you plan on 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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