Faster processing of EB-3 Category for US Green Card

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Recently, the DOS (Department of State) released the Visa Bulletin for January 2014, which shows a few very interesting advancements that influences overseas workers in the 2nd and 3rd Categories of EB (Employment-Based) Visa. DOS issues the Visa Bulletin on a monthly basis and updates applicants when they are eligible to apply for the US Green Card, aka the US Permanent Residence.

Every country receives an equal number of immigrant visas issued by the US each fiscal year. However, as citizens of certain countries (i.e. Philippines, Mexico, China and India) are seeking more green cards than the numbers available, these applicants experience serious delays in getting their green cards. This is known as Visa Retrogression.

Until the priority dates on an applicant’s case becomes current, applicants who are affected by visa retrogression cannot adjust their statuses to green card holders. The DOS publishes the Visa Bulletin every month, wherein it indicates which priority dates are current and the eligibility of the people who can apply for the final stage of the Green Card process. Visa Bulletin’s published wait times range from a few months to 10 years or more.

The Visa Bulletin of January 2014 is unusual as the EB-2 category for Chinese employees, which needs an offered position with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree and an experience of 5 years, is moving slower than the EB-3 category which only requires a Bachelor’s degree.

This may result in many employers seeing a raised request from employees for an EB-3 Green Card process. If an employee has an already approved 2nd phase of the EB-2 Green Card process, i.e. EB-2 I-140, an amended I-140 filing can be considered by the company and while retaining the priority date, request for an EB-3 classification. In case the amended I-140 makes the priority date of an applicant current, (s)he is eligible to file an Adjustment of Status application, i.e., the final phase of the Green Card process concurrently.

The next few months’ Visa Bulletin movement predictions were also published by DOS and it is expected that there may be slight movement of 3-5 weeks for EB-2 China, no forward movement for India EB-2, and Worldwide will remain current.

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