This page contains notes of significance to international educators regarding the availability of employment-based (EB) immigrant visa numbers, as reported in the Department of State's Visa Bulletin.

Visa Bulletin Notes Of Significance

July 2012 Visa Bulletin

Worldwide EB2 Cut-Off Date For July 2012; possibility of unavailability in remaining months of FY 2012: "EMPLOYMENT SECOND PREFERENCE VISA AVAILABILITY - Continued heavy demand for numbers in the Employment Second preference category has required the establishment of a Worldwide cut-off date for the month of July.  This action has been taken in an effort to hold number use within the annual numerical limit. Should there be an increase in the current demand pattern, it may be necessary to make this category completely “unavailable” prior to September 30, 2012.  The China and India Employment Second preference categories are already “unavailable”, and will remain so for the remainder of the fiscal year." The EB2 category is for Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability. The July 2012 worldwide cut-off date in the EB2 category is 01JAN09.

Background on Cut-off Dates in the Visa Bulletin

There is frequently more demand for immigrant visa slots than there is availability. A preference category can become oversubscribed in two ways: either the total category availability has been reached, or the per-country limit for that category has been reached.

When a category becomes over-subscribed either in its entirety or for a particular country, a waiting list develops. A person's place on the waiting list is determined by his or her "priority date," which is the date that a labor certification application was first filed on his or her behalf with the Department of Labor, or, for those categories exempt from the labor certification requirement, the date on which a preference petition was filed on his or her behalf with USCIS. [8 C.F.R. § 204.5(d)]

The Department of State maintains a count of the number of immigrant slots filled, and issues a monthly public report called the Visa Bulletin, which contains the "cut-off" dates for each category in the Family and Employment-Based categories. If there is a cut-off date listed in the Visa Bulletin, all aliens that are subject to the limitation who have a priority date from that date forward must wait until at least the next month to see if the waiting list has progressed. Unless a preference category is current (i.e., no cut-off date has been announced) or an alien's priority date is before the cut-off date listed in the Visa Bulletin, the alien cannot file an application for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa, nor have an application for adjustment of status or immigrant visa approved.

The monthly Visa Bulletin is published approximately two weeks before the beginning of the month it covers. A cut-off date is effective the first day of the month of the Visa Bulletin in which it appears. Applications can continue to be filed or approved until the effective date of the cut-off date. For example, if there is no cut-off date in the June Visa Bulletin, but one appears in the July Visa Bulletin, an applicant may file an application for adjustment of status through June 30. This is often strategically important, because an applicant for adjustment of status is eligible to apply for employment and travel benefits while the application is pending.