Best Visa Retrogression Guide for 2023

In this blog, we're diving into the topic of visa retrogression affecting the Visa Bulletin. If you've been following our journey with Josh Goldstein, immigration lawyer Immigration Station, you’ll know that our goal is to inspire, help, and guide applicants for immigration visas to the US.

We're in this together, so continue reading as we shed light on the critical Green Card Bulletin issue that's affecting so many foreign nationals today applying for US citizenship.

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What is Visa Retrogression, and Why Does It Matter?

Let's start with the basics. Retrogression after filing is when the Visa Bulletin takes a step backward. In other words, it's when visa application cases that were once current - meaning they could have moved forward in the immigration application process - suddenly become not current. 

To be more specific, visa retrogression is when things get a bit tricky in the visa world. Imagine this: There are more folks applying for visas in a particular category or from certain countries than there are actual visas available for that month. 

Usually, this happens as we near the end of the fiscal year. During visa retrogression, US visa applications' Final Action Dates charts might hop around the set cut-off date. You might make the cut one month, but the next, due to a sudden surge in demand, you might not. 

It's like a rollercoaster ride, full of twists and turns, and it can be pretty frustrating. USCIS visa bulletin retrogression can be a heart-wrenching situation. Especially when you and your family have done everything right to pursue your American dream.

Final Action Dates Charts - Key Information:

Final Action Dates charts outline key information for immigration:

  • Priority Dates:
    • Family sponsored visa applications and employment based visa applications, including those for professions holding advanced degrees, are each assigned a priority date.
  • Categories and Quotas.
  • Visa Bulletin.
  • Movement of Dates.
  • Application Process:
    • INA Section 203 dictates the allocation of immigrant visas based on categories like family sponsorship (such as unmarried sons and daughters, married sons and daughters of permanent residents, and siblings of US citizens) and employment. 
    • It sets quotas and eligibility, which influence immigration outcomes in the U.S. This legislative framework is pivotal in shaping immigration procedures.
  • Tracking Progress:
    • Applicants’ priority date earlier than the application date in the chart below can gather and submit required documents to the Department of State’s National Visa Center after receiving instructions from them.

National Visa Center’s Role: How Does It All Work?

The National Visa Center (NVC) plays a critical role in the US visa process. The NVC's role is closely linked to the monthly Visa Bulletin, as the priority date determines when a case can progress in the immigration process. A case is sent to the NVC if the priority date is current on the Visa Bulletin after the USCIS has approved an immigrant petition.

The NVC handles tasks like collecting fees and documents and also provides instructions to immigrant visa applicants. The NVC ensures all paperwork is in order before forwarding the case to a US embassy or consulate for a visa interview.

Visa retrogression and the critical Visa Bulletin

Real-Life Story

Allow us to share a story from the Joshua Goldstein law practice. We had a client who was a permanent resident who had waited patiently for years to bring her husband to the United States. Finally, her husband received a visa interview

However, instead of getting approval or even a denial, his case got stuck in what's called administrative processing. So he waited and waited with no answers.

The Visa Bulletin for August 2023 was announced in July 2023, when our client was about to hire us for help. That’s when everything unfortunately changed, and the Green Card Bulletin went backward. 

Many people, like our client’s husband, who were once on the brink of success, suddenly had to face the prospect of having to wait many more years. 

Get US Citizenship to Speed Up the Process

It’s important to note that to get a visa approved, your category and priority date must be current at the time of issuance.  This means that there’s no strategy available to get a visa approved if it's not current. You must wait for the visa to become current once again. 

However, there’s a strategy that does have the potential to speed up the process. You can get US citizenship if you already have a permanent resident card or have completed the process of naturalization.

How To Become a US Citizen With a Permanent Resident Card

If you hold lawful permanent residency, you could qualify for US citizenship either after five years of obtaining your permanent residency or three years if you are married to a US citizen. The US Citizenship Resource Center provides further information about the process of naturalization.

Hope on the Horizon

Here's the good news – We predict that the October 2023 Green Card Bulletin will show many of these visa categories as current again. While it's speculative, we believe this change may occur with the start of the fiscal year on October 1, 2023. 

Keep an eye out for the October Visa Bulletin, which will be introduced in September 2023!

You Can Take Immediate Action

If your case is in administrative processing and it becomes current, and it retrogressed before, you need to contact us. Seek legal help by Telling Us About Your Case and ensure you cross the finish line before any potential setbacks.

Remember, these moments when your case is approvable and current are crucial. Stay strong, and keep chasing your US citizenship dreams. Josh Goldstein law is here to support you every step of the way!

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