Aspiring overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) often dream of a better life for themselves and their families in the United States. However, the US visa application process can be complex and confusing, especially during times of retrogression. Retrogression occurs when the demand for visas exceeds the supply, leading to delays and uncertainties for visa applicants.
In this article, we will explore the concept of US visa retrogression and its implications for Filipino OFWs, as well as provide some tips for navigating the visa application process.
Disclaimer: The information posted here is based on the personal experiences shared by the OFW in the video below. Please let this post serve as a guide only. If you have specific questions, you may ask the OFW by commenting on their video on their accounts.
The Impact of US Visa Retrogression on Filipinos
The information presented in this article comes from YouTube channel Nurse Juan OFW. The vlogger says what he shares is not personal but knowledge coming from other sources e.g. podcasts from experts. For a more comprehensive understanding of the topic, please watch the full video below:
The US government sets limits on the number of visas that can be issued each year for certain categories of visas, such as family-based and employment-based visas. This means that there is a fixed number of visas available each year, and once that limit is reached, no more visas can be issued until the following year. To summarize:
- US government sets limits on visas each year
- Visa retrogression occurs when demand exceeds available visas
- Eligible applicants may be placed on a waiting list until a visa becomes available
- Waiting period can vary based on demand and priority date
- Applicants may face uncertainty and stress during the waiting period
Visa retrogression occurs when the number of people applying for a particular category of visa exceeds the number of visas available for that category in a given year. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as increased demand for a particular category of visa or a change in the way visas are allocated.
When visa retrogression occurs, applicants who are otherwise eligible for a visa may be placed on a waiting list until a visa becomes available. The waiting period can vary depending on the demand for the visa category and the applicant’s country of origin. Some applicants may only have to wait a few months, while others may have to wait several years.
Let’s say that the US government sets a limit of 7,000 employment-based visas for the Philippines each year. This means that once 7,000 visas have been issued to applicants from the Philippines in that category for the year, the US government cannot issue any more employment-based visas to applicants from the Philippines until the following year.
If the demand for employment-based visas from the Philippines exceeds 7,000 in a given year, visa retrogression would occur. This means that eligible applicants from the Philippines who apply for an employment-based visa during that year may have to wait until the following year, when the visa limit is reset, before they can be issued a visa.
The waiting period for visa retrogression can vary depending on the demand for the visa category and the applicant’s priority date, which is the date the application was initially filed. For example, let’s say that the demand for employment-based visas from the Philippines is particularly high one year, and there are 10,000 applicants who have filed their applications before the visa limit of 7,000 is reached. In this case, the remaining 3,000 applicants would be placed on a waiting list and would have to wait until the following year, when the visa limit is reset, to be issued a visa.
Visa Bulletin Website
The Visa Bulletin is a monthly publication by the US Department of State that provides information about the availability of immigrant visa numbers for various categories of visas. It contains two charts that summarize the availability of immigrant visa numbers.
What is included in the Visa Bulletin?
- Two charts that summarize the availability of immigrant visa numbers
- The first chart is called “Final Action Dates” and shows the priority dates for which immigrant visas can be issued for each category of visa and country of chargeability
- The second chart is called “Dates for Filing” and shows the priority dates for which applicants can begin the process of applying for a visa
The first chart, called “Final Action Dates,” shows the priority dates for which immigrant visas can be issued for each category of visa and country of chargeability. The priority date is the date when the applicant’s petition was filed with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and it is used to determine the applicant’s place in line for a visa.
The second chart, called “Dates for Filing,” shows the priority dates for which applicants can begin the process of applying for a visa, such as submitting documentation and undergoing a medical examination.
Why is the Visa Bulletin important?
- Provides information on the availability of immigrant visa numbers for each category of visa and country of chargeability
- Helps applicants and their families plan their immigration process
- Helps applicants understand potential waiting times due to visa retrogression
The Visa Bulletin is important because it provides information on the availability of immigrant visa numbers for each category of visa and country of chargeability. This information can help applicants and their families plan their immigration process and understand the potential waiting times they may face due to visa retrogression.
Latest US Visa Retrogression
According to the information presented by the vlogger, the latest Visa Bulletin report indicates that for the Philippines, a priority date of June 1, 2022, is now indicated in the Employment-based column, specifically for the EB3 Visa category for nurses. This date represents the cutoff for visa applications that will be prioritized for processing by the government.
To see this information, one can refer to the table in the Visa Bulletin report, where the column for Employment-based visas lists the countries in rows, with the specific cutoff dates indicated for each. For the Philippines, the priority date of June 1, 2022, is specified.
Essentially, this means that visa applications filed before June 1, 2022, will be given priority for processing by the government, while those filed after that date will be subject to delays due to visa retrogression. To better understand this concept, one can imagine the visa process as a one-way highway, with one side representing the Philippines and the other side representing the United States. Visa retrogression can be thought of as a blockage in the middle of that highway, represented by a specific date – in this case, June 1, 2022.
Applications that were filed before this date will be able to move forward and be processed, while those filed after that date will be stuck behind the blockage and will have to wait for it to be resolved.
It’s important to note that those who have already filed their visa applications before the priority date of June 1, 2022, will not be affected and can continue with their plans as usual. However, those who have not yet filed their applications may need to take the visa retrogression into account and adjust their plans accordingly.
What Those with Visas Filed After June 1, 2022 Should Do
Especially those that are near the retrogression date, there are technicalities you need to consider.
Who are affected by retrogression?
- Visa retrogression can affect anyone who is trying to immigrate to the United States
- It is more common for some types of visas and for people from certain countries
- Employment-based visas, family-sponsored visas, and diversity visas are often subject to visa retrogression
- People from countries with high demand for visas, such as China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines, are more likely to be affected by visa retrogression
- Visa retrogression can delay the process for people who have already been approved for a visa but are waiting for their turn to receive it
Are Follow-to-Join Dependents Affected by Retrogression?
- Individuals may already be in the US while their relatives remain in the Philippines
- They may bring their family through the Follow-to-Join process
- Priority dates for both the main applicant and their family members may be retrogressed
- If retrogressed, securing an interview date may be difficult
- Waiting until the priority date becomes current may be necessary
- Bringing family members along can avoid delays and uncertainties
- Insisting on this option during retrogression is important
- Employers may not be supportive of bringing family members, but it’s worth considering
In some cases, individuals may already be in the United States while their relatives remain in the Philippines. These individuals may wish to bring their family over through the Follow-to-Join (FTJ) process. However, if the priority date for both the main applicant and their family members is included in the retrogressed dates, it’s possible that they may not be able to secure an interview date. In this situation, they would have to wait until their priority date becomes current.
To avoid this situation, the vlogger recommends that individuals who are planning to go to the United States should consider bringing their family members with them, if possible. Although some employers may not be supportive of this, it’s important to insist on this option, especially during times of retrogression. By bringing their family members along, individuals can avoid delays and uncertainties associated with the visa process and reunite with their loved ones more quickly.
What About Those Who are Scheduled for Visa Interview but are Included in the Retrogression Date?
If your priority date is June 2, 2022, that means your priority date is after June 1. If you have an interview scheduled for that month and it falls on or before April 30, 2023, it’s best to attend the interview as planned. You should still be okay for that month.
However, if your interview date is scheduled for May or after April, there’s a chance that your appointment may be cancelled. You may receive a notification from the officials about the cancelled appointment. It’s important to check with the US embassy to confirm the status of your appointment.
If your interview is rescheduled for May, it’s best to wait until your priority date becomes current as indicated in the visa bulletin. You should coordinate with the US embassy to ensure that you have the latest information on your appointment and priority date.
Overall, it’s important to stay informed and up-to-date on any changes in the visa processing timeline. By staying in touch with the US embassy and checking the visa bulletin regularly, you can better navigate the retrogression period and ensure a smooth transition to the United States.
If you have a priority date of June 29, 2022 and the retrogression date is June 1, 2022, it’s best to contact the U.S. embassy or consulate handling your case to seek guidance on whether to proceed with your scheduled medical examination or to cancel and reschedule at a later date. As each country has its own way of processing visas, it is important to follow the guidance of the embassy or consulate handling your case.
If your interview date is scheduled for May and you already have a medical examination scheduled for April, it’s best to check with your consulate for guidance. Coordination is key in this situation, and it’s important to try your best to follow the embassy’s instructions. Keep in mind that some embassies may have allotted visas for specific periods, so it’s important to stay informed and follow their guidelines. Remember, there’s nothing to lose in checking with your consulate for guidance, so it’s always worth reaching out to them for clarification.
Visa retrogression can be a challenging and frustrating experience for applicants and their families. However, it’s important to stay informed and be aware of the current visa availability for your category and country of origin. It’s also recommended to consult with an immigration attorney for guidance and assistance with the visa application process. While visa retrogression can cause delays and uncertainties, with patience and perseverance, applicants can eventually reunite with their loved ones in the United States. Pretty soon, you will land your dream job of working in the States, whether it be a teacher, nurse, engineer or whatever profession you choose.