September is the last month of Fiscal Year 2009 and there are two substantial movements in term of visa cut-off dates:
- China EB2 and India EB2 will both advance to January 8, 2005; and
- All EB4 categories have become unavailable, starting immediately.
Employment Based Second Preference
India EB2 cutoff date is moving to January 8, 2005. Believe it or not, there are still more than a few Indian professionals waiting since 2003 and 2004. It is quite a relief for those early filers and their families. India EB2 cutoff dates have been around 2003 and 2004 all year, briefly retrogressing to January 1, 2000 in the July visa bulletin, so finally moving on to 2005 is welcoming news.
China EB2 is also set to January 8, 2005, more or less in line with most FY2009 visa bulletins for this category, except for July.
It appears that July is a “catch-up” month, when USCIS and DOS intentionally set cutoff dates more conservatively, wait for case processing to catch up, re-evaluate visa number usage, and get ready to allocate the final block of visa numbers during August and September. The image below is a chart of visa number retrogression for all EB2 categories.
Employment Based Third Preference
All EB3 categories remain “unavailable” for September, which means no EB3 AOS applications will be approved, and no new I-485 will be allowed to be filed for the month. Starting October 1st, next year’s visa numbers will become available.
Employment Based Forth Preference
In a surprising move, DOS announced that visa numbers for the entire EB4 preference, including Certain Religious Workers categories, have been exhausted. More importantly, the “unavailable” status took effect immediately, on August 11, rather than starting September 1. This is a nightmare for people who are eligible to file I-485 based on the current visa bulletin, but have not been able to do so.
The EB4 Certain Religious Workers category is set to expire on September 30, unless extended by Congress.
DOS does indicate that EB4 will become current again in the October 2009 visa bulletin.
Other Employment Based Preferences
All EB1, EB2 other than China and India, and EB5 categories are “current.”
Family Based Preferences
Minor 1- to 3-month movement for most family sponsored immigration categories.
Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery Categories
For DV-2009 registrants, all DV categories remain current (except Egypt and Ethiopia) during September. Note that September 30, 2009 is the last day an immigrant visa may be issued to a DV-2009 applicant. DV-2010 visa cut-off numbers will be established for October.