Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions: USCIS Visa Bulletin - Part 1

What is a Priority Date? 

A priority date is the date that an alien initially filed his/her case to immigrate to the United States by applying for an immigrant visa. For family-based applicants, this is the date the USCIS first received the immigrant petition (Form I-130) filed on the alien's behalf. For employment-based applicants, this is the date PERM (an application for labor certification) is received by the DOL, or the date an immigrant preference petition (Form I-140) was filed, if no labor certification is required. 

What is a cut-off date? 

Since certain aliens are subject to the restrictions of the annual immigrant visa quota and the quota is periodically full for some categories, the State Department publishes a monthly waiting list based on applicants’ priority dates to regulate who is eligible to apply for adjustment of status to permanent resident (Form I-485) or Consular Processing. On the list, the State Department provides a date for each category of preferences for both family-based and employment-based immigrant applications. This date is known as cut-off date. The State Department determines the cut-off dates by viewing the priority date of the first applicant who could not file for adjustment of status due to the previous month’s dates and quota.

What is the significance of the priority dates and the cut-off dates?

For those aliens who are subject to the annual immigrant visa quota, the priority date and the cut-off date determine when they can file an application to adjust status to permanent resident (Form I-485) or Consular Processing. If their priority date is earlier than the cut-off date published by the State Department, then they may apply for adjustment of status or consular process. Otherwise, they must wait until the cut-off date pass their priority date. Therefore, the earlier the priority date is, the quicker the alien is eligible to get his/her green card. 

  • John is from Mexico, applying for first preference family-based immigration with a priority date of 05/20/1993.  According to the State Department, the cut-off date for this group is currently 01/01/1992.  Since John’s priority date is not earlier than the cut-off date, he must wait to apply for adjustment of status until the cut-off date passes the priority date (i.e. he must wait until the cut of date is 5/21/1993 or later).

  • Jen is from India applying for third preference in family-based immigration with a priority date of 07/22/98.  According to the State Department, the cut-off date for the category is currently 08/01/98.  Therefore, since Jen’s priority date is earlier than the cut-off date, she may apply to adjust status.

  • Eric is from China applying for first preference employment-based immigration and has a priority date of 07/01/05.  The State Department has set the cut-off date for this group at 07/01/05.  Since Eric’s priority date is not before the cut-off date, he must wait to apply to adjust status. 

  • Doug is from the Philippines, applying for fourth preference employment-based immigration with a priority date of 04/22/06.  The State Department has the cut-off date for this category listed as “current.”  This means that all qualified applicants may adjust status or consular process, regardless of priority date. Therefore, Doug can apply for adjustment of status as soon as he wishes.

Who should be aware of the priority date and who may not? 

Continue to Part 2:


  1. I am a Canadian (EB3) living in the United States on a H1-B visa, my a priority date is February 3, 2009, can I expect to be current once the July 2013 visa bulletin is released?
    I will be filing for an EAD for my family (wife and two kids) once I am current, if the date regresses will the EADs be voided?
    Also is there anything I can do in advance of my priority date becoming current (i.e. go get our physical?).
    I want to say I really enjoy looking at your site, do you have a timeline as to when the EB3 priority date estimator will be up and running?

    1. 1. EB3ROW is likely to move 5-6 months in July VB. We will update this when we get some more data from USCIS.

      2. If dates retrogress, EAD/AP will continue to be valid until the date of expiry mentioned on the card. After that you can continue to renew EAD/AP card as long as I-485 is pending.

      3. Yes, you can do medical exam. It typically takes few days. Please see this article:

      4. Thank you for the kind words. EB3 calculator could be ready in about 3-4 days.

  2. once priority detd became current how long till after i have to wait for green card

    1. There are many checks completed by USCIS. You can see timeline in blog post below:

  3. Amazon,
    My H-1b is expiring Sept.01, 2013... My priority date is Oct.26,2006 & will be current on Sept.2013 VB. My employer agreed to file extension of H-1b (to avoid me being out of status while AOS in pending) but until now (Aug.16) the lawyer did not file the renewal of H-1b because he did not receive the payment for filing & attorney's fees. Should I be worried since it's barely 10 business days before my H-1b visa expires? What are the possible options for me so that I won't be out of status? Please help. Thanks...

    1. Please see the link below:

  4. Hi
    Im in f2a case and my PD is Aug.19,2013.
    But still haven't received NOA2. How long will i wait since my PD is current till october. Thank you


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  6. Hello,
    My priority date is July 23, 1012 and the current cut-off is September 8, 2013. The cut-off have passed my priority date for more than a year and I still have no information or documentation from the NVC. They asked me to wait until the 19th of this month before calling them back. What should I do now? What are the next steps??

  7. Mi pregunta es la siguiente como es posible que si la F2A estuvo al dia osea current en agosto del 2013 lo que se traduce en que habian visas disponible y por esto se mantuvo con fecha 09/08/2013 hasta el mes de mayo ahora aparezca con fecha mayo de 2012

  8. My daughter is 24 years old. My pd is 11 jan 2002 undr f4 category of india. Wud she get any problem for allotment of visa?

  9. hello amazon my PD is April 15,2013 under F2A category of Philippines..when we will get my interview appointment..I NEED YOUR HELP..THANKS AND GOD BLESS..

  10. Hi can anyone tell me that why visa bulletin of September 2014 is not releasing ? When will it release? Kindly reply me ......

  11. Helo amazon.. Can u tell me when will september visa bulletin 2014 publish?

  12. Mai I know approximately how much time will take for pd July 2013 in f3 category

  13. How much time it will take in f4 category my priority date is March2004


  15. My date is 7 June 2009 f3 how long for getting well come letter

  16. I'm a f4 category my sister filed on 2006 march so when will get call from there could you please give answer. Thanks


Comment Posting Tips:

1. To estimate when priority date can be current, please see this GC Calculator:

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