July 2012 Visa Bulletin – ROW EB-2 Retrogression

The July 2012 Visa Bulletin was released today and the headline was the establishment of a cut-off date of 2009-01-01 for EB-2 ROW (all countries other than those listed separately). Although DOS has recently warned of potential retrogression for EB2 ROW, the backward movement of 3+ years still came as a surprise to many. After all, the EB2 ROW category has been “Current” for all but two months in the last decade!

The retrogression was obviously caused by heavy demand for visa numbers, but what caused such a high demand this year? My first guess would be EB3 to EB2 conversions, given that ROW EB3 has been hovering around a six-year wait which could give people enough motivation to make the switch. Unfortunately there is no government data on this subject so we can only guess. Of course, it could simply be that more people are applying for green cards, although I’m a bit skeptical given the state of the U.S. economy in recent years.

Now a brief recap of the July Visa Bulletin:

  • EB1 remains current across the board;
  • EB2 India and China remain “unavailable”;
  • EB2 ROW, as well as Mexico and Philippines, moves back three years to 2009-01-01;
  • EB3 moves forward by a few weeks for all categories;
  • EB3-Other moves forward at its usual pace, with China finally starting to advance;

43 thoughts on “July 2012 Visa Bulletin – ROW EB-2 Retrogression

  1. Udit hun

    What do you think will happen to the EB-2 in October when a new quota will be released?

  2. IR_Blog Post author

    I think EB2 ROW will return to current for October. But if demand for some reason skyrockets over the next few months, I won’t be surprised to see a cutoff date. It is unlikely, but certainly possible.

  3. piano7

    I just got my PERM and is on EB2 ROW category. I just paid my lawyer for the I485/I140, and she is collecting documents from my employ, this will take her two weeks. So we are planning to send the document in at the end of June 2012. Does the retrogression of EB2 ROW means I can’t send them in?

  4. IR_Blog Post author

    That is correct: Your priority date must be earlier than the cutoff date in order to submit I-485. You may still file I-140, though.

  5. AM198


    I submitted my I485 and I140 (Premium processing) together at the beginning of June. USCIS received them on June 4th (but I didn’t received a receipt number yet, it’s only based on my FEDEX tracking). I noticed that they cashed my checks for both I485 and I140 on June 14th. Do you think that they will process my I485? My Priority date is Oct 13th, 2011. Are they going to wait till next fiscal year to give me GC?


  6. IR_Blog Post author

    They may process your I-485 as normal (sending out biometric appointment notice, conducting background checks, etc.), but they can’t approve it without your priority date being current. And USCIS doesn’t get to or complete a case right away – you can check the processing time at the service center to which your case was sent.

  7. AM198

    Thanks for your prompt response. How about the EAD and Advance Parole? And if I get an EAD, can I change my job or I should wait till I get my GC?

    Thank you again.

  8. nilam

    dear sir my priority date is 29october 2002 eb3 others india. and i read the i 485 inventory table updated at our web site. but in october 2002 EW (others) are empty. then where is my petetion which is approved by labour court. i m confused. pls explain how to read thi s table.
    thaks for ur favour to advice well in direction.
    thanking again.

  9. IR_Blog Post author

    You’re reading the inventory tables correctly. If your PD is 2002/10/29, and your I-485 is still pending, it should be included in the India EB3-Other October 2002 cell. Now not only it is blank, but it has been this way since the January 2011 release. I don’t know why, but my first guess would be USCIS counting error – they could have missed your case, or included it in another month or even category. Was your I-485 standalone or you filed it together with your spouse’s case which might belong to a different category? You may want to double check your I-485 receipt and make sure the PD was correct on it. You can also contact USCIS to make an inquiry (especially since your PD is very close to cutoff now) and try to correct any error you might discover.

  10. kwik

    I have an ongoing EB2 petition filed on January 2012. My papers are now in NVC and when my agent called the NVC they told us that final processing of my case has been completed on May 18, 2012. Right now I am waiting for my exit interview schedule. Will I be affected by these recent July visa bulletin? will I still be queued for an interview? Or will my case be on hold until the visa become current again? Thank you very much in advance

  11. IR_Blog Post author

    It depends on your priority date (PD) which is, for most cases, the date you filed your Labor Certification, not your I-485. When you say your EB2 petition was filed in January 2012, was it your LC, I-140, or I-485? Also what is an exit interview and how do you know you will have to go through one?

  12. David

    Hi all, Any thoughts on EB2 ROW category to become Current again soon? Any analysis based on past history? . I saw in couple of other blogs were there are more positive chances the ROW EB2 category will become Unavailable by end of this year. Any valuable comments would be appreciated. Was there anytime in the past it happened ?

  13. sdeep

    I am EB-2 India , consular processing with PD -Aug-29-2009. I paid the visa application fee in January when my PD became current and then the visa application was sent to NVC. After that the PD went back to Aug-2007. Now, is there a way I can know if the application is in process or on hold until PD becomes current again?
    I was also trying to estimate the wait time with the last inventory data published however could not figure out much. When do you believe my PD could become current?
    Appreciate your help

  14. IR_Blog Post author

    Once NVC collects fees and supporting documents from you, it is safe to assume that they will finish whatever left they have to do and then put your case in a queue if a visa number is not available at the time. Once your PD becomes current they will schedule an interview, and the Consular Office will take over from there and complete the processing of your case.

    I can’t predict when your PD will become current (if I could I would be pursuing a brand-new career 🙂 ), but I put out all the information and data I could find on this Website. You can access all of them through the Green Card Tracker and Visa Bulletin pages.

  15. shadeyo

    Hi i am eb3 category with priority date of june 27 2006. per july bulletin my date is now current. i did biometrics etc during the july 2007 visa bulletin fiasco. would i have to re-do ? what are the next steps ? any thoughts ? thank you

  16. IR_Blog Post author

    Fingerprinting is supposedly valid for 15 months (although they SHOULD be lifetime), but some people have to re-do it while others don’t. You may want to contact USCIS in early July just to see if there is anything holding your case up, but you may have to try a few times before you hear anything useful.

  17. stupid-system

    Swamped by Indians, if it weren’t for the Indians swamping the system, EVERYONE would be current. The current fraudulent movement of no doubt tens of thousands of Indians from EB3 to EB2 is why EB2 ROW is now retrogressed. Watch out everyone else, HR goes through, the only ones getting green cards for a long time will be Indians. Indians do this every where they go, just look at England, Australia, Canada – Indians have overrun these countries, the US is next.

  18. Dan


    I just got interviewed for the I-485 filed on Sept 29, 2011 with I-140 NIW EB2.
    (approved in Dec 2011). But the visa number is not available now; so my I-485 case remains pending how long?

    Please have your suggestions on me ASAP.

  19. IR_Blog Post author

    Don’t know. If you are ROW, next month’s VB may become current. There is hope that October VB might return to April/May levels but no one knows for sure.

  20. YJ


    I will file my I-485 (employment based) under EB2 in November. Of course, I got approved I-140 and EB2 in wordwide will be in current in November. How long normally it takes to get an approval?

    Also, I just got a speeding ticket. Will it affect the approval process?
    Thank you,

  21. IR_Blog Post author

    A simple speeding ticket (without arrest or DUI, for example) typically doesn’t affect green card application. Otherwise it has to be reported in the application and will be determined on a case by case basis by USCIS.

    We don’t/can’t predict when a green card application will be approved.

  22. Carlos


    I am from Mexico living in the USA under H1B in my final year of 3. Company is sponsor me under EB-2. I still have 3 years H1B extension, but being from Mexico I do not know if 3.3 years (applying for H1B extension) would be enough time to finish all process, any comments?


  23. IR_Blog Post author

    With a pending EB2 process you may very well qualify for H-1B extensions beyond six year, or switch to EAD at some point, if you don’t have GC in hand before your six years on H1b run out.

  24. Carlos

    I do not see the qualification for the 3 years extension H1B an issue, the issue is that EB2 total process time could take more than 3 years.

    what percentage of probability I could have getting this done before 3 years?

  25. Carlos

    I did not know about extra extension of the H1B (more than 6 years), thanks for the information

    is it possible a company can still sponsor a green card while living in Mexico, though? in other words, if I get into an arrangement while working for the company from my home country, is there a process to apply for a green card like this?

    this is actually one of the issues I do not like while living and working in the USA under a temporal visa, all this time paying taxes and in the end worse case permanent resident did not happen, money and time just in the garbage

  26. cpbr

    Hi – I received notice of action letters for the receipt of my I-495 (PD 1/4/2012) and I-765. The received date in both is 11/3/2012. I also received biometrics appointment for the end of December. My preference classification is EB2. My question is, what are the next steps after the biometrics appointment and how long will it take (approx) to receive the green card? Thank you

  27. YJ

    I have same questions as cpbr. I had finger print taken last week and would like to know how long it takes to get a green card under EB2 (world wide) category. I checked the EB route as you linked above but it doesn’t show time frame.
    I understand that no one can predicts anything related to immigration time frame. However, if you can, would you please give me some rough estimate time line?
    Thank you so much in advance.

  28. YJ

    Hi Dear,

    I just got a approval notice via email and per USCIS website, my case status is Card / Document Production. After I receive a notice and green card via mail, what shall I do next? If I travel to my country, Korea, shall I visit the US Embassy in Korea to submit some paper works?

    Thank you for your help.

  29. IR_Blog Post author

    A green card allows you to travel abroad and there is no need to go to an Embassy or Consulate any more. As long as you don’t stay outside the U.S. for too long there is no additional paperwork needed.

  30. YJ

    Hi IR,

    I got my green card and I still have some follow up questions that I think I should know.
    First, how long shall I work for my current employer? I don’t have any plan to leave and work for another company at the moment. However, I think I need to know the rule so I don’t get into a trouble.
    If I leave my current employer, do I need to find another employer right away in order to keep my permanent residence status,? Or I can be unemployed for a few months?

    Second, If I move to another company, do I need start getting greencard process again? What’s the protocol for this?

    Lastly, If I want to apply citizen ship, shall I work for my currenty employer (sponsor for my green card) until I am qualified?

    Thank you in advance. Your advices are really helpful.

  31. IR_Blog Post author

    Congratulations on getting your green card.

    There is no hard requirement in terms of how long you have to stay with your current employer, but obviously leaving immediately isn’t a smart idea. Some say a couple or a few months would be enough.

    You don’t have to be employed to maintain your permanent resident status. And you don’t have to re-apply for green card if you change employer. You don’t need to stay with the current employer to be eligible for citizenship, but obviously there are other requirements you must meet.

    Please note these are not legal advice.

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