The U.S. Department of State recently released the visa bulletin for March 2024, which contains updated priority dates for family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant visa categories. This latest visa bulletin shows modest but promising advancements across several visa types.
Overview of Key Changes
The March 2024 visa bulletin demonstrates small yet meaningful progress, especially for applicants from India and China facing long backlogs. Key advancements include:
- EB-1 moves forward slightly for India (to Oct 2020) and China (to July 2022).
- EB-2 inches ahead for all countries except India and China.
- EB-3 creeps forward for all countries except India and China.
- EB-4 sees a small jump for all countries.
- EB-5 remains current for all countries except China and India.
Additionally, the F2A category shows noteworthy advancement for all countries, which is excellent news for spouses and children of green card holders.
While none of these increments are tremendous, they signal a positive trajectory as we move further into 2024. With more visa numbers released throughout the year, we could see accelerating movement in upcoming months.
Analysis for Employment-Based Categories
Taking a closer look at the employment-based categories:
The EB-1 category remains current for most countries, while India advances slightly to Oct 2020 and China moves to July 2022. These small jumps indicate the category is still hindered by high demand from applicants in India and China. However, the steady pace shows promising signs for additional advancement later this year.
The EB-2 category stands still at March 2012 for India but progresses to Nov 2022 for all other countries. China also remains stalled at Jan 2020. The movement for countries other than India and China is an encouraging sign, while the backlogs for India and China remain a major obstacle.
Similarly, EB-3 stays put at July 2012 for India but pushes forward to Sept 2022 for all other countries. China stands at Sept 2020. Again, we see promising advancement for most countries amid the large backlogs for India and China applicants.
EB-4 and EB-5
In more positive news, EB-4 jumps to Dec 2019 for all countries. EB-5 remains current for all countries except slight changes to Dec 2015 for China and Dec 2020 for India.
Analysis for Family-Sponsored Categories
The family-sponsored categories show very little movement, with the exception of the F2A category:
Excellent advancement happens in F2A, which progresses to Feb 2020 for all countries. This will come as wonderful news to spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents who have been anxiously awaiting their priority date.
F1, F2B, F3, F4
Unfortunately, all other family-sponsored categories show virtually no movement. The backlogs remain firmly in place, with priority dates stretching back years in many cases. While disappointing, it is not unexpected given the high demand in family categories.
Predictions Moving Forward
Looking ahead to the coming months, we can expect to see additional progress, especially in the employment-based categories. As we get deeper into 2024, more visa numbers will become available for distribution. Given there is higher visa demand versus visa supply, determining the monthly pace of movement can be tricky.
But if visa availability increases as expected, the bulletin should advance at a faster rate. For family-sponsored categories, movement will likely remain slow in the coming months. Backlogs are tremendous due to years of high demand. Plus, family categories are subject to a 7% per-country limit. As a result, incremental advancement in priority dates will probably persist for some time.
The F2A category will hopefully continue on its current trajectory after the excellent jump in March 2024. Spouses and young children of green card holders tend to have better luck with faster processing.
In summary, while none of the forward movement is tremendous, the March 2024 visa bulletin trends in a positive direction. We can view it as a promising sign of visa availability opening up as we move through 2024. The bulletin should continue advancing each month as more visa numbers become reachable. Patience and persistence are crucial, but good news could certainly be on the horizon!