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US August 2024 visa bulletin: Progress for Indians in EB-2, EB-3 category

The US Visa Bulletin lists priority dates, essentially placeholders in the green card application line

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

Surbhi Gloria Singh New Delhi
The August Visa Bulletin has introduced a slight shift in various visa categories. The US State Department has retrogressed the EB-3 All Other Countries category. In the EB-2 and EB-3 categories, India has moved forward by a month, now at July 15, 2012. Other categories for India, China, Mexico, and all other countries remain unchanged.
 
What is the US Visa Bulletin?

The Visa Bulletin lists priority dates, essentially placeholders in the green card application line. Each month, the US Department of State calculates how many applications are waiting in each category, helping them estimate when different applicants might be able to move forward.

Dates for filing

These dates in the Visa Bulletin indicate the earliest date you can submit your adjustment of status or immigrant visa application. If your priority date is on or before the cut-off date listed for your category, you can proceed with the next step in the application process.

Final action dates

These dates estimate when your application will be processed and decided upon. The difference between Dates for Filing and Final Action Dates roughly reflects the expected USCIS processing time.

Two Ways to Move Forward

1. Filing for Adjustment of Status: If you’re already living in the US
2. Applying for an Immigrant Visa: If you’re living outside the US

Breakdown for Indians: August 2024 Visa Bulletin

The bulletin serves as a guide for the Green Card journey, featuring two essential sections:

Dates for Filing

This section specifies the earliest date applicants can submit their adjustment of status or immigrant visa applications. It helps applicants determine when they can proceed with their filing based on their visa category and country of origin.

Final Action Dates

These dates estimate the wait time for application approval, leading to permanent residency. They function as a queue based on visa category and nationality, indicating when applicants can expect their applications to be processed.

Key Points for Employment-Based Green Cards

To file in August 2024, applicants must have an application date preceding a specific date listed for their category and country in the bulletin, ensuring their eligibility for filing.

Employment-based preferences breakdown

The employment-based categories are designed to meet different skills and investment criteria:

1st Preference (EB-1, Priority Workers): 28.6% of the global employment-based preference level.
2nd Preference (EB-2, Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability): Also takes 28.6% of the global level.
3rd Preference (EB-3, Skilled Workers and Professionals): Allocated 28.6% globally, with a specific cap for 'Other Workers'.
4th Preference (EB-4, Special Immigrants): Accounts for 7.1% of the global level.
5th Preference (EB-5, Investors): Also set at 7.1% of the global level, with portions set aside for investments in rural and high unemployment areas, as well as infrastructure projects.
Family-Based Preference Categories

In the August 2024 visa bulletin, there's no advancement in any of the family-based preference categories. Unlike the employment-based categories, USCIS will accept cases based on the Date of Filing Chart.

Dates unchanged for the follwong categories:

F1: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of US Citizens

Mexico: 
January 1, 2002
Philippines: July 8, 2015
Other countries: March 1, 2012.

F2A: Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents

Mexico: February 1, 2021
Philippines: November 15, 2021
Other countries: November 15, 2021
 
F2B: Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents

Mexico: July 8, 2004
Philippines: October 22, 2011
For the rest of the world: April 1, 2016.

F3: Married Sons and Daughters of US Citizens

Mexico
: 1, 1999
Philippines: August 22, 2002
For the rest of the world: March 1, 2010

F4: Brothers and Sisters of Adult US Citizens:
December 15, 2005

Each category has specific allocations and set-asides, affecting applicants from various countries differently.

Annual limits and per-country restrictions

For financial year 2024, the family-sponsored preference limit is set at 226,000, while the employment-based preference limit is at least 140,000. Each country faces a cap of 7% of these totals, which equates to 25,620, ensuring no single country overwhelmingly benefits from the US immigration system.

Application process and final action dates

Applicants need to track the "Final Action Dates" to understand when they might move forward with their applications. When there are more visas available than applicants, USCIS updates its guidelines, potentially allowing earlier filings.

Final Action Dates for employment-based preferences (India)
EB-1 remains unchanged at February 1, 2022.
EB-2 advances only 2 months, to July 15, 2012 and the Date for Filing to July 22, 2012.
The Final Action date for EB-3 India will advance to October 22, 2012 and the Date for Filing to November 1, 2012.
EB-4 and Certain Religious Workers: Currently at November 1, 2020.
EB-5 (Unreserved and Set-Aside Categories): Dates vary with some remaining current, reflecting availability for applicants.

Dates for filing
 
Employment-based preferences:
EB-1 through EB-5: Various dates ranging from current to specific cut-offs in 2020 and 2022, allowing applicants to gauge when to file their applications effectively.

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First Published: Jul 11 2024 | 12:26 PM IST

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