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EB-3 Cut-Off Dates Continue to Advance

The March 2015 Visa Bulletin shows that the worldwide employment-based third preference (EB-3) cut-off date including the Philippines has advanced by 5 months from January 1, 2014 in February to June 1, 2014. Meanwhile, China only advanced by a month and three weeks to October 22, 2011 and India by over a week to January 1, 2004.

The Philippine EB-3 cut-off date made a 7-year leap forward in the past 12 months. In March 2014, the cut-off date was May 1, 2007. The current cut-off date is only 9 months short from being current. Such rapid movement is likely to increase the demand for visa numbers and this may require corrective action. The demand for EB-3 visa numbers have been surprisingly low but it may soon increase as the cases filed by nurses are processed. Retrogression is a possibility in the coming months.

China’s employment-based second preference has advanced by five months to September 1, 2010 and India by one year and four months to January 1, 2007.

The employment-based second preference (EB-2) remains current for all other countries. All the other employment preferences remain current for all countries.

The family-based preferences (F-1 to F-4) move slowly. The worldwide preference cut-off dates are as follows: F-1 – August 1, 2007; F-2A – June 22, 2013; F-2B – July 8, 2008; F-3 – January 22, 2004 and F-4 – May 15, 2002.

The Philippines cut-off dates are: F-1 – February 1, 2005; F-2A – June 22, 2013; F-2B – March 22, 2004; F-3 – August 1, 1993 and F-4 – September 8. 1991. It should be noted that the F-1 preference for the Philippines continues to do better than the F-2B so that unlike in previous years I-130 beneficiaries need not opt-out and remain in F-2B after their parents naturalize.

Because of the annual numerical limitation of visa numbers, cut-off dates are established for oversubscribed categories. If an applicant’s priority date is before the cut-off date stated in the monthly visa bulletin, a visa number is immediately available. If the priority date comes on or after the cut-off date, the applicant needs to wait until the priority date becomes current.

The family-based 1st preference category (F-1) refers to unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, while the F-2A preference refers to spouses and children (less than 21 years old) of permanent residents.

The F-2B preference category refers to unmarried sons and daughters (21 years or older) of lawful permanent residents. The F-3 preference refers to married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. The F-4 preference pertains to brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens.

Beneficiaries of employment-based and family-based preferences who have priority dates earlier than the aforementioned cut-off dates and are currently in the U.S., must file their adjustment application in order to get certain interim immigration benefits such as employment authorization and travel permit. Those with pending adjustment applications will be allowed to remain in the U.S. and work here until the adjudication of their adjustment applications.

Eligible to file for adjustment of status are those lawfully present in the United States or those who are beneficiaries under Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. To be covered under Section 245(i), an alien must be the beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition or labor certification properly filed on or before April 30, 2001. If the visa petition or labor certification was filed after January 14, 1998, the alien must prove that he/she was in the U.S. on December 21, 2000.

Among the documents required to file for adjustment of status, in addition to Form I-485 and related forms, are the applicant’s photographs, medical examination report, affidavit of support, copy of passport and I-94, copy of birth certificate, and if applicable, copy of the applicant’s marriage certificate and official proof of termination of any prior marriage.

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