US Green Card Dream Deferred As EB-1 Visa Backlog Hits 10 Years

Aspiring Indian immigrants seeking the prestigious EB-1 visa have been dealt a significant setback with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) imposing a surprising retrogression of the final action date. The move has resulted in a 10-year delay, pushing back the issuance of these visas.
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In a significant setback for highly skilled Indian individuals seeking the EB-1 visa, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced a retrogression of the final action date by 10 years.

This unexpected move is detailed in the USCIS monthly visa update bulletin for August.

Retrogression Explained

The employment-based, first-preference visa, commonly known as the EB-1 visa, has long been coveted by exceptionally talented professionals due to its fast-track processing.

However, Indians aspiring for this visa are now facing an unprecedented hurdle. The final action date, which marks the point when visas can be granted, has been regressed by a decade for Indian applicants.

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Demand Outstrips Quota

According to the USCIS bulletin, the demand for the EB-1 visa among Indian nationals has exceeded the available quota, necessitating the application of prorating measures under INA 202(e). These provisions come into play when the demand for visas surpasses the per-country limit.

Until now, applicants from India could benefit from unused visa allocations originally designated for other countries. Yet, due to escalating demand for EB-1 visas from these other nations, the USCIS can no longer extend this privilege to Indian applicants.

As a result, individuals from India are now ineligible to receive EB-1 numbers under INA 202(a)(5), as stated in the official release.

A Significant Step Backward

This development has led to a substantial retrogression for the EB-1 visa category in FY 2023. The final action date has been set back to January 2012, causing a delay of 10 years.

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Many Indian EB-1 applicants have priority dates spanning from 2012 to 2015, largely due to priority date retention stemming from previously approved petitions in the EB-2 or EB-3 categories.

There is a glimmer of hope, as the final action date could potentially advance to October if visa slots for FY-2024 become available. This, however, hinges on factors like demand and visa limitations for the upcoming fiscal year.

Impact on Family Sponsored Visas

The repercussions of this retrogression extend beyond the EB-1 category. Family-sponsored preference visas, governed by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), also experience adjustments in allocation.

These preference classes include:

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  • F1: Unmarried sons and daughters of US citizens, with a cut-off date of January 1, 2015.
  • F2A: Spouses and children of permanent residents, with a cut-off date of October 8, 2017.
  • F2B: Unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age or older) of permanent residents, with a cut-off date of September 22, 2015.
  • F3: Married sons and daughters of US citizens, with a cut-off date of January 8, 2009.
  • F4: Brothers and sisters of adult US citizens, with Indian applicants facing a further retrogression from April 22, 2007, to September 15, 2005.

Understanding the Visa Bulletin

The issuance of the monthly visa bulletin by the US Department of State is pivotal for green card applicants. This bulletin provides insights into the progress of green card applications, estimates wait times, and offers a glimpse into the timeline for acquiring a green card.

Last month, a bipartisan group of 56 US lawmakers, led by Congressmen Raja Krishnamoorthi and Larry Bucshon, urged the Biden administration to take executive action. The goal is to expedite priority dates for Indian green card applicants, alleviating the staggering wait time of up to 195 years.

The lawmakers directed their appeal to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, emphasizing the urgent need to provide relief for high-skilled employment-based visa holders.


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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Travelobiz.com, he's passionate about writing.

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