Philippine EB-3 Visa Preference Rolls Back Seven Years

By Reuben S. Seguritan

April 15, 2015

After leaping seven years forward in the past twelve months, the May 2015 Visa Bulletin shows that the cut-off date of the Philippine employment-based third preference (EB-3) for skilled workers, professionals and other workers will roll back by seven years and three months from October 1, 2014 to July 1, 2007.

The rapid forward movement significantly increased the demand for immigrant visa numbers under this category such that a retrogression will be required to keep the visa number use within the annual limit.

Philippine nationals who are scheduled for interview at a U.S. consulate may be issued visas as they have already been allocated for them. Meanwhile, Philippine nationals in the U.S. with EB-3 priority dates earlier than October 1, 2014 should file for adjustment of status before the end of April.

The EB-3 cut-off date for all other countries except China and India will move forward by three months, to January 1, 2015.

The cut-off date for China’s employment-based third preference for skilled workers and professionals will move by four months to May 1, 2011 and other workers by three months to November 15, 2005. Meanwhile, EB-3 cut-off date for India will move by eight days to January 15, 2004.

The employment-based second preference (EB-2) will remain current for all countries except China and India. China’s second preference cut-off date will move by one year and two months to June 1, 2012 while India’s cut-off date will advance by more than seven months, to April 15, 2008.

Also, the employment-based fifth preference (EB-5) will remain current for all countries except China. The EB-5 investor visa category for China will retrogress with a cut-off date of May 1, 2013. This will be the first time that this category will have retrogression for any country. All the other employment preferences will remain current for all countries.

The family-based preferences (F-1 to F-4) will move slowly. The worldwide preference cut-off dates are as follows: F-1 (unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens) – August 15, 2007; F-2A(spouses and children of permanent residents) – September 1, 2013; F-2B (adult unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents) – September 15, 2008; F-3 (married son and daughters of U.S citizens) – February 22, 2004 and F-4 (brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens) – August 1, 2002.

The Philippine cut-off dates are: F-1 – February 1, 2005; F-2A – September 1, 2013; F-2B – April 22, 2004; F-3 – August 15, 1993 and F-4 – October 22, 1991. A retrogression of the F-1 category is a possibility in the next several months.

Beneficiaries of employment-based and family-based preferences who have priority dates earlier than the aforementioned cut-off dates and are currently in the U.S., must file their adjustment application in order to get certain interim immigration benefits such as employment authorization and travel permit. Those with pending adjustment applications will be allowed to remain in the U.S. and work here until the adjudication of their adjustment applications.

Among the documents required to file for adjustment of status, in addition to Form I-485 and related forms, are the applicant’s photographs, medical examination report, affidavit of support, copy of passport and I-94, copy of birth certificate, and if applicable, copy of the applicant’s marriage certificate and official proof of termination of any prior marriage.