U.S. Department of State Releases May 2011 Visa Bulletin

EB-2 - India Priority Date Advances to July 2006 on Availability of 12,000 Unused Visa Numbers


The U.S. Department of State has released its May 2011 visa bulletin. An advance in visa numbers available for the second employment based preference category (EB-2) has positively impacted priority dates for India, moving the date from May 8, 2006 to July 1, 2006. The Department of State's Visa Office has indicated that the rapid advancement of EB-2 priority dates for India is based on its projection that approximately 12, 000 visa numbers from the EB-1 preference category will go unused in fiscal year 2011. By law, these "unused" numbers may be made available to the entire world in priority date order for the EB-2 category.

Of the 140,000 employment based visa numbers available for fiscal year 2011, each country is permitted no more than 7% of that total. Each of the five preference categories is allocated a certain percentage of the total visa numbers available. The second preference category (EB-2) is allocated 28.6% of the total. Currently, countries, other than India and China, will meet their demand from the base 28.6% allocation, without the need for the extra 12,000 "unused" visa numbers. This means that the 12,000 visa numbers will be utilized only by India and China based on priority date order without regard to their per country limitation.

The U.S. Department of State reports that currently 17,400 applicants have filed or are ready to file EB-2 Adjustment of Status applications and have a priority date within the 2006 calendar year. This number includes applicants who (1) filed Adjustment of Status applications in July/August 2007 but could not complete the application because of visa number retrogression; those who (2) upgraded from EB-3 to EB-2 by filing new PERM applications; or those with (3) approved EB-2 petitions who have not filed for Adjustment of Status. Of the 17,400 applicants, 13,200 are from India and 4,200 are from China.

It is anticipated that Indian nationals will benefit from more than 75% of the extra 12,000 "unused" visa numbers because approximately 75% of those with the oldest EB-2 priority dates are from India. As a result, the May 2011 visa bulletin reflects an advance in the EB-2 priority date for India, moving it from May 8, 2006 to July 1, 2006.