Visa Retrogression: Don’t Lose Hope!

Embarking on a journey to the United States through immigration is a significant life decision, but it often comes with its challenges. One of these challenges is visa retrogression, which can bring frustration and delays to your immigration plans. However, it’s important to remember that this obstacle is temporary, and with the right approach and guidance from an immigration attorney, you can continue on your path to realizing your American dream.

Understanding Visa Retrogression

The U.S. Congress sets annual limits on the number of immigrant visas issued, aiming to maintain control over immigration numbers. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) plays a vital role by publishing the monthly Visa Bulletin. This bulletin contains cut-off dates that determine when applicants become eligible to apply for permanent resident status based on their priority dates.

The priority date is a crucial aspect of the visa application process. In most cases, it marks the date when your immigrant petition is correctly filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In certain instances, it may coincide with the acceptance of your labor certification application by the Department of Labor.

At its core, visa retrogression occurs when the demand for immigrant visas exceeds the supply, leading to a backlog in visa processing. This primarily affects certain visa categories or individuals from specific countries. 

Implications of Retrogression

When visa retrogression occurs, it means that the demand for visas in a specific category or from applicants of a particular country has exceeded the available visa numbers for that period. Consequently, applicants with priority dates earlier than the published cut-off date in the Visa Bulletin can proceed with their applications, while others may face delays until more visas become available.

If you’re among those affected by visa retrogression, you’ll have to wait until your priority date once again aligns with the cut-off date in the Visa Bulletin. This waiting period can be frustrating and may impact your immigration plans and, in some cases, your career—however, annual visa limits reset at the end of every fiscal year (October 1st). The cut-off dates may also change, potentially moving your application forward.

It’s important to note that visa retrogression is uncommon, especially when countries or specific visa categories experience oversubscription. For instance, in the summer of 2023, the DOS retrogressed Employment-Based Third preference (EB-3) for Indian visa applicants.

Navigating Immigration with Care

If you face visa retrogression, it’s vital to remain informed and continue working closely with your immigration attorney to avoid further delays. Remember that visa retrogression is a temporary hurdle in your immigration journey, and in many cases, it can be resolved with the start of the new fiscal year.

While delays that are beyond your control can be understandably frustrating, they underscore the importance of partnering with an immigration attorney well-versed in navigating the intricate immigration system. The team at RelisLaw is here to ensure that your application is completed accurately, submitted on time, and free of errors to avoid additional delays. If you have questions about the immigration process or what to do once the fiscal year has ended, call 1-866-916-1569 for a consultation.

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We help people from around the world to live and work freely in the U.S., to achieve their dreams, unite families, or escape persecution. No matter what immigration service you need, RelisLaw will provide caring and dependable counsel to you and aggressive advocacy to vigorously fight for you using every available legal avenue. As a global firm, we work with people in countries around the world. We meet clients across the U.S., as well as in New York, Toronto, and Montréal. We also meet with clients globally, located in any country, via Skype and other platforms.