Dec 2013 Visa Bulletin: EB2 India Retrogression & Stagnation Expected Until May 2014

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has issued the visa bulletin for December 2013. The cutoff date movements are consistent with predictions offered by the DOS this past October for employment-based cases and family-based cases. The most notable development is yet another round of significant EB2 retrogression for India.

Family-Based, Second Preference “A” (FB2A)

The cutoff date in the FB2A category for the spouse and (unmarried, minor) child/ren of a U.S. lawful permanent resident (LPR, or “green card” holder) holds steady at September 8, 2013 for all countries of chargeability, except Mexico. Mexico’s cutoff date continues to be September 1, 2013.

The DOS predicts that there will not be further advancement in this category in the upcoming months, and that the cutoff date for Mexico will retrogress. Thus, for those who took advantage of the forward movement in this category, and filed I-130s before September 1, 2013, this category continues to yield the potential for obtaining permanent residence in the near future. For those with later priority dates, or who have not yet filed, it still may be worth pursuing the FB2A option and waiting for additional potential forward movement of the cutoff dates.

Employment-Based Categories

Employment-Based, First Preference (EB1)

This category remains current for all countries of chargeability. This category is expected to remain current for the foreseeable future.

Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2)

The EB2 category is current for all countries of chargeability, except India and China. The category is expected to remain current, for all except India and China, in the coming months.

As predicted, December will see EB2 India retrogress to a cutoff date of November 15, 2004. This is the result of demand for visa numbers exceeding the available supply, due to rapid advancement of the EB2 India cutoff dates in recent months. The October DOS prediction specified that, following the December 2013 retrogression, the EB2 India date would not advance prior to May 2014. The EB2 cutoff date for China advances by a month, to November 8, 2008. The DOS predicts that China’s cutoff date in this category will continue to advance by three-to-five weeks per month.

Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3)

The EB3 category is quite favorable for all countries, except India and the Philippines. In fact, EB3 is more favorable than EB2 for people born in China. The EB3 cutoff date for all countries of chargeability, China, and Mexico, advances by a full year, to October 1, 2011. The cutoff date for the Philippines moves forward to January 8, 2007. India’s cutoff date retrogresses by a few weeks to September 1, 2003.

The DOS explains that the rapid movement of cutoff dates in this category is an effort to generate demand for visa numbers. As the demand materializes, the forward movement will not be able to continue. The DOS expects that the advancements will not continue beyond February 2014. China’s cutoff date is expected to continue to match the worldwide date. India is not expected to see any forward movement.

Other Workers Category

The EB3 other workers’ cutoff dates match the general EB3 cutoff dates throughout the category.

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

These categories remain current for all countries of chargeability, and are expected to remain current for the foreseeable future.


There are some rays of hope in the visa bulletin for the FB2A category, as well as for EB3 for countries other than India and the Philippines. However, both EB2 and EB3 India continue to experience severe retrogression. Although many EB2 India applicants have received their green cards over the past few months, this will come to a halt by November 30, 2013. The reason for these backlogs is purely a matter of the demand for visa numbers far outstripping the supply.

MurthyDotCom will continue to provide updates and insight into the DOS monthly visa bulletin. Anyone in need of guidance with respect to potential green card options is encouraged to contact the Murthy Law Firm for assistance.

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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.