I discussed in a previous article that due to the high demand for visa numbers there has been a retrogression of some Philippine family preference categories from the cut-off dates stated in last month’s visa bulletin. As a result of the retrogression, many visa applicants whose priority dates were already current under the November 2010 visa bulletin will now have to wait longer.
In a recent announcement, the U.S. Embassy in Manila advised that applicants affected by the retrogression and who have previously received a visa appointment notification should not continue with their medical exam and interview appointment at this time. When their cases become current, the applicants will receive notification on how to proceed with their application.
The announcement explains that under the law, immigrant visa numbers must be made available strictly in the chronological order of the priority dates and that the numerical limitation cannot be waived in any individual’s case, regardless of the circumstances.
The cut-off date for the 2B preference moved back from September 1, 2002 to March 1, 2000. The 2B category refers to unmarried sons and daughters (21 years or older) of lawful permanent residents.
For the 3rd family preference, the cut-off date retrogressed from March 1, 1995 to July 1, 1992. Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens fall under this category.
Priority cut-off dates for the 4th preference category moved back from April 1, 1991 to January 1, 1988. This category refers to brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens.
There is no reliable way to predict the movement of the cut-off date, which can advance, remain at a standstill, regress or even become completely unavailable from month to month.
Immigrant visa applicants whose appointments have not been scheduled through the National Visa Center may request a visa appointment either by calling (632) 982-5555 or by going online at the Visa Information and Appointment Service at http://www.ustraveldocs.com/ph. For any questions, those who are present in the U.S. may contact the Visa Information and Appointment Service at telephone number (214) 571-1600 from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. EST.
Visa Information and Appointment Service representatives can provide information on visa appointment-related inquiries only. Inquiries on a specific case may be directed to the Immigrant Visa (IV) Unit by email at IVManilaReplies@state.gov, by fax at (632) 301-2000, and by phone at the Inquiry Line at (632) 301-2000 ext. 5184 or 5185.
Immigrant visa applicants who have scheduled visa appointments must visit the online appointment website to register their delivery address.
Returning resident visa applicants are also required to book an interview appointment by visiting the online appointment website or by calling the Visa Call Center.
The authorized courier service provider is 2GO commercial courier. Applicants who have been issued visas have the option of picking up the visa at a 2GO branch or delivered at their designated address. The delivery will be for no additional cost. Applicants should also use 2GO to return documents to the Immigrant Visa Unit.
Finally, applicants who were refused a visa under 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act prior to December 1, 2010 must submit the required documentation, along with the refusal sheet, at any 2GO branch.