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Retrogression of Priority Dates

March 21, 2023

Retrogression of priority dates occurs when there are more immigrant visa applications submitted in a particular visa category than there are available visas for that category in a given fiscal year. When this happens, the Department of State (DOS) will establish a “cut-off date” for that visa category. This means that only those who filed their petitions on or before the cut-off date will be eligible for visa processing.
For example, if the cut-off date for a particular visa category is January 1, 2022, then only those who filed their petitions on or before that date will be eligible for visa processing. Those who filed their petitions after that date will have to wait until the cut-off date moves forward, which happens when the availability of visas for that category becomes less limited.
Retrogression of priority dates typically occurs in employment-based and family-based visa categories. This can be caused by various factors, such as an increase in demand for visas in a particular category, or the imposition of visa caps or quotas. Retrogression can cause significant delays in the immigration process, as applicants who are affected by it may have to wait months or even years to become eligible for visa processing.
It’s important for applicants to stay up to date on visa availability and cut-off dates by regularly checking the DOS’s monthly Visa Bulletin. Additionally, applicants should work with an experienced immigration attorney who can help them navigate the complexities of the visa process and advise them on the best strategies for maximizing their chances of success.
Hong-min Jun
Attorney at Law