The U.S. Department of State (DOS) recently released the April Visa Bulletin. Overall, most visa categories moved forward. In particular, EB-2 India and EB-2 China advanced by seven and eight months, respectively. Unfortunately, as expected, the EB-3 China retrogressed by 10 months.
As way of background, Congress sets the limits on the number of immigrant visas issued annually. In order to adjust to a legal permanent resident (LPR), an immigrant visa must be available at the time of filing the petition and at the time of adjudication. DOS publishes a monthly Visa Bulletin that sets forth whether a visa is available (that is “C” for current), or not available (that is “U” for unavailable). In some instances, it will list a date that indicates the date of the petitions currently being adjudicated.
Generally, the dates on the monthly Visa Bulletin move forward in time. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes the dates move backwards, or retrogress. Consequently, visa retrogression occurs when more people apply for a visa than there are visas available for that month. Retrogression usually occurs towards the end of the fiscal year as visas approach the per-country limitations. It is not until the new fiscal year begins (October 1) that a new visa supply is made available. The new supply of visa usually results in the dates on the Visa Bulletin returning to where they were before retrogression occurred, but that is not always the case.
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