March 2012 Visa Bulletin: EB2 for India and China Advances Again!

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) Visa Bulletin for March 2012 continues the recent advancement trend for cutoff dates in the employment-based, second preference (EB2) category for India and China. The EB2 cutoff date in March 2012 is May 1, 2010. This cutoff date movement is less dramatic than in recent months, but is still significant. The March 2012 Visa Bulletin is summarized here, and explanations are provided for the benefit of MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers.

Summary of Visa Bulletin

Employment-Based, First Preference (EB1)

This category is current for all countries of chargeability.

Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2)

This category continues to be current for all countries of chargeability, with the exception of India and China. The EB2 cutoff date for India and China advances by four months, to May 1, 2010. This is consistent with DOS predictions issued in late January 2012. The March Visa Bulletin is effective during the month of March 2012.

The advancement is attributable to DOS efforts to allow for the filing of sufficient applications for adjustment of status (I-485) cases, prior to the end of fiscal year 2012 (FY12). This will allow the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) enough time to process these cases and, if approved, utilize the available immigrant visa numbers during FY12.

Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3)

The EB3 category does not benefit from the developments in EB2. These cutoff dates remain significantly backlogged, with limited advancement in March 2012. The cutoff date for all chargeability areas except those listed, as well as for Mexico and the Philippines, advances again by approximately three weeks, to March 15, 2006. India’s cutoff date inches forward to August 22, 2002. China’s cutoff date advances by a month to January 1, 2005.

Other Workers’ Category

The EB3 other workers’ category advances for all chargeability areas except those listed, as well as for the Philippines and Mexico, with a cutoff date of March 15, 2006. China’s cutoff date of April 22, 2003 continues to stagnate. India’s cutoff date changes to August 22, 2002.

Employment-Based Fourth (EB4) and Fifth (EB5) Preferences

These categories remain current for all countries of chargeability.


As explained above, and in previous NewsBriefs, the rapid forward movement of the EB2 cutoff dates is a temporary phenomenon. It is anticipated that, without allowing for these additional case filings, an excess of visa numbers would be left to go unused at the end of FY12. It takes time for the USCIS to process I-485 cases. Thus, in order to have a case ready for approval by the end of FY12, it must be filed months ahead. The advancement of the visa bulletin cutoff dates allows this to occur.

Once there are sufficient numbers of I-485 cases filed and being processed, the rapid cutoff date advancement will cease. Then, the dates could advance slowly, remain unchanged, or even retrogress. The DOS does not provide a predication as to future cutoff date movement in the March 2012 Visa Bulletin. We at the Murthy Law Firm will continue to share useful information on visa bulletin developments with our readers.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.