March 2013 Visa Bulletin: Predictions for Upcoming Months

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) released the March 2013 Visa Bulletin. Included in this visa bulletin are predictions for movement of cutoff dates. In a word, the estimate for EB2, India, is dismal. This summery of the contents of the March Visa Bulletin, including the predictions for April through June 2013 and our analysis, is included for the benefit of our readers.

Summary of Visa Bulletin

Employment-Based, First Preference (EB1)

This category remains current for all countries of chargeability. The DOS anticipates that this category will remain current in upcoming months.

Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2)

This category continues to be current for all countries of chargeability except India and China. There is no change in the EB2 India cutoff date of September 1, 2004. The EB2 China cutoff date advances by a month, to February 15, 2008. The DOS predicts that EB2 will remain current, with the exception of India and China, in the upcoming months. China’s cutoff date is expected to continue to advance each month by three to six weeks, April through June 2013.

Dismal Predictions for EB2 India

The situation for India, however, is far different. India’s cutoff date has been unchanged since it was established at the start of fiscal year 2013 (FY13), in October 2012. The DOS predicts that there will be no advancement of the EB2 cutoff date in the upcoming months. Additionally, in a revision of previous, more favorable predictions of movement in this category, the DOS warns that it is possible it will become necessary to further retrogress the cutoff date in this category. This is due to continued demand for these visa numbers, which is described as extremely high despite the September 1, 2004 cutoff date. The DOS states that, if the level of demand continues, it will be necessary to retrogress the cutoff date to keep the category within the FY13 legal limits.

Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3)

The EB3 cutoff date in the category of all chargeability areas except those listed, as well as Mexico, advances by approximately six weeks to a new cutoff date of May 1, 2007. The cutoff date for the Philippines moves forward to September 1, 2006. China continues to progress to a cutoff date of January 22, 2007. India’s new cutoff date in this category is November 22, 2002.

The DOS predicts that the EB3 worldwide category (all chargeability areas except those listed) will advance by four-to-six weeks per month, April through June 2013. During the same period, the cutoff date for EB3 China is expected to advance by two-to-three months in each monthly visa bulletin. India’s EB3 cutoff date is predicted to move by up to two weeks each month. Mexico is expected to advance by four-to-six weeks per month, and the Philippines may advance by up to one week each month.

Other Workers Category

The EB3 other workers’ cutoff dates continue to line up with the general EB3 cutoff dates, with the exception of China. The EB3 other workers’ category cutoff date for China remains at July 1, 2003.

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

These categories continue to be current throughout the categories. The DOS predicts that these categories will remain current over the next few months. The DOS has revised an earlier prediction that indicated it might be necessary to establish a cutoff date in the EB5, China category. The DOS does not believe that this step will be needed.


The March 2013 Visa Bulletin is likely to dash the hopes of many in the EB2 India category who hoped for and expected some improvement in cutoff dates during this fiscal year in 2013. This change is likely to play into our readers’ immigration planning and decisions on such issues as employment changes. The Murthy Law Firm will continue to share the latest information on the DOS visa bulletins 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.