September 2013 Visa Bulletin and Prediction for New Fiscal Year

The Department of State’s Visa Office today released the Visa Bulletin for September, 2013. Being the last month for the current fiscal year, it carries special weight because all visa numbers must be allocated before they are wasted.

All retrogressed EB categories, with the only exception being China EB-2, advanced for September. EB-2 India, benefiting from visa spill-over, jumbed another five months to June 15, 2008. Employment-based third preference also moved significantly, with China, Mexico and ROW EB3 advancing one and half years.

Chargeability Preference September Cut-off Date Movement from August (Days)
China Second (EB2) 2008-8-8 0
India Second (EB2) 2008-6-15 166
ROW Third (EB3) 2010-7-1 546
China Third (EB3) 2010-7-1 546
India Third (EB3) 2003-9-22 243
Mexico Third (EB3) 2010-7-1 546
Philippines Third (EB3) 2006-12-1 40

Surprisingly, the family-sponsored F2A category remained “current” for September. Given its multi-year backlog before last month’s visa bulletin, I thought that one month’s “current” status would have drawn a dramatic increase in visa demand, and in turn pushing F2A back to retrogression. If you fall into this category, however, you may want to hurry up and catch the train while you can, because it certainly won’t last.

The Visa Office also offered their assessment of current visa demand and predictions for the near future:

D. VISA AVAILABILITY

FAMILY-sponsored:

F2A: This category was made “Current” in an effort to generate new demand for the upcoming fiscal year. Information received during discussions with the National Visa Center and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services indicates that this action is already having the intended result. Therefore, it is likely that a cut-off will be imposed for October. This cut-off is unlikely to have any negative impact on those who have already initiated action on their case prior to the announcement of the October cut-off dates.

EMPLOYMENT-based:

SECOND:

India: This cut-off date has been advanced significantly more than originally expected, based on the projection that there would be “otherwise unused” numbers under the overall Employment Second preference annual limit. This is the result of a decrease in Employment First preference number use, and a similar decrease in Employment Second preference demand for most other countries during the past two months. It is expected that such movement will generate a very significant amount of new India demand during the coming months.

THIRD:

The Employment-based Third preference cut-off date for most countries was advanced at an extremely rapid pace in April through July in an effort to generate demand. Historically such movements have resulted in a dramatic increase in applicant demand for numbers within a few months. At this time there is no indication that the expected increase is materializing or will do so in the near future. This has resulted in significant movements in the September cut-off for all countries.

It is unlikely that there will be any forward movement of most Employment-based cut-off dates during the next couple of months. In addition, a sudden surge in demand could require the retrogression of a cut-off date at any time. Such action would be required if it appears that such number use could impact visa availability under the FY-2014 annual limits.

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