Retrogression (IV)

VIZARD’S CORNER

Dear Vizard,

Please help me: I am confused and I don’t know what to do!  Several months ago, I received an appointment letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) with instructions that my family and I should go to St. Luke’s Medical Center Extension Clinic to undergo medical examinations.  We did everything as instructed by NVC and then showed up for our interview. 

On the day of our appointment, we were so excited because after almost 20 years of waiting, my father’s visa petition for my family and me has finally become current for processing.  Our dreams of coming to America to be with my elderly parents are finally within our grasp!  Unfortunately, because of the long wait, the NBI clearances that we submitted to NVC expired.  My wife and I brought along new NBI clearances during the interview, but we did not know that my 16-year-old son also needed one.    

After the interview, it was explained to us that our visas cannot be approved until all application documents have been updated.  We were then given instructions on how to send or submit an NBI clearance for my son.  Because of his busy school schedule, it took my son about a month to send the NBI clearance.  We were not worried, however, because we knew that our medical reports are valid for three more months and our applications are valid for one year. 

Two weeks later, I received a letter from the Embassy that brought about all my confusion.  In the letter, it said that the Embassy is unable to continue processing our applications because our priority date is not eligible for processing.  You can imagine our surprise upon learning this.  A few months ago NVC confirmed that our case is already eligible for processing!  Why is the Embassy suddenly telling me that it isn’t?  Why were we scheduled for an interview if our priority date was not current for processing?  What do I have to do to get our visas?   

I hope you can answer my questions, Vizard.  I don’t think I can wait another 20 years.  Thank you very much and more power to you.

Sincerely,

Mr. Coronado M. Pacencia

 

Dear  Mr. Pacencia:

It appears that your case is among those that retrogressed.  Only those visa petitions with current priority dates are eligible for processing.  This means that at any particular month, only visa petitions that were filed prior to a certain date (depending on the visa category) are eligible to receive visa numbers for that particular month.

Due to changes in the availability of visa numbers, however, the priority dates that are considered current also change from month to month.  Sometimes the dates move forward, sometimes they stay the same, and sometimes they move back (retrogress).  Retrogression happens when the monthly demand for visa numbers has exceeded the visa numbers available for issuance.  It is therefore possible for a case to be current for processing one month and then become non-current the next.  Unfortunately, there is no way that we can reliably predict the movement of priority dates.  Consular Officers have no control over this.

While it is understandable for applicants to want their visas to be issued as soon as possible, U.S. immigration law requires that visa numbers only be made available strictly in order of priority date.  This limitation cannot be waived under the law, regardless of the applicants’ personal circumstances. 

The good news is that retrogression is not forever.  As soon as your priority date becomes current for processing again, the Embassy will contact you to continue processing your visa applications and update documents that may have expired.  The best thing to do is to check periodically the current priority dates for your visa category.  This information is available from the State Department’s website at http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_1360.html

I hope this information is helpful to you.  Good luck!

Sincerely,

Vizard

15 thoughts on “Retrogression (IV)

  1. What will happen then to their derivative beneficiaries who are turning 21 years of age and fortunately they are now documentarily qualified? Will they be issued immigrants visas?

    • Under U.S. immigration law, a derivative beneficiary cannot precede the principal beneficiary to apply for immigrant visas or obtain U.S. permanent residence status. A derivative beneficiary may accompany or follow to join the principal alien to the United States, but cannot enter the U.S. ahead of the principal applicant.

      Under U.S. immigration law, when a derivative beneficiary marries or turns 21 years old, any immigration benefits as a “child” terminate.

      The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) may provide relief to certain applicants who aged out. However, the eligibility for age-out relief under the CSPA may be determined only at the time a visa application is adjudicated by a consular officer.

      When your priority date becomes current for processing and you are scheduled a visa interview, your aged out children may submit formal visa applications at the Embassy. For additional information about the CSPA may wish to visit the following links: http://blogs.usembassy.gov/philippines/?p=363 and http://manila.usembassy.gov/wwwh3228.html.

  2. My brother was a documentarily qualified and affected by retrogression last year.He was petitioned by our father and with joint sponsor of my sister.But early this year,our dad who is our petitioner passed away.Do my brother need to undergo the so called human reinstatement?although since in the beginning then..he was co sponsored by my sister? your reply for this matter is really highly appreciated.

  3. Dear vizard,

    Goodday!

    I have a E3 petition which has a priority date May 17, 2006. I have waited for 5 years for this petition to be current. Iam trying to contact my employer in California but until now they have not responded my email on the update of my status and if they are still interested on my petition.

    I am afraid that this is a case of a abandoned petition. What is the best thing that i can do in order to continue my petition in the US.

    Thank You.

    • Thank you for posting a comment on VISAtisfied Voyager, U.S. Embassy Manila’s visa blog. We suggest that you call the employer directly rather than sending them inquiries via email.

  4. We are on a F3 category and our priority date became current last quarter of 2010. NVC sent us a letter that we are documentarily qualified but due to retrogression we have to wait again for our PD to become current again. My question for now is regarding the IV fee, do we have to pay it again when our PD become current?is there an expiration on IV fee?

    Thanks in advance..

    • Thank you for your interest in VISAtisfied Voyager.

      There is no need to pay the immigrant visa fee anew if this has been paid already at the State Department’s National Visa Center (NVC). Once your priority date becomes current for processing and a visa number becomes available for use, NVC will notify and advise you to update required documentation, including adjustment in fees (if any).

  5. With due respect, may I ask to kindly enlighten me more with regard to your response and to quote “The good news is that retrogression is not forever”. How about those derivative beneficiary who have aged out due to retrogression. Would this mean the end of forever, as quoted, and goodbye for the visa of USD404.

    Look forward to hearing your good advice soon as this would greatly help us to lessen our [my wife and I] mental anguish due to retrogression issue since 2010 up this this date.

    We wanted to reunite with our family in the USA and keep my own family [my wife and children] intact.

    All the best.

    • Thank you for your interest in VISAtisfied Voyager.

      U.S. immigration law requires that immigrant visa numbers be made available strictly in order of priority date. There is no provision within the law that would allow the numerical limitation to be waived in any individual’s case, regardless of the circumstances.

      Unfortunately, there is no way we can reliably predict the movement of the cutoff dates which can advance, stop, regress or even become completely unavailable from month to month.

      In the meantime, the applicant or the petitioner may visit the State Department’s website at http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_1360.html
      for information on the movement of priority dates and visa availability.

      Please also note that under U.S. immigration law, when a derivative beneficiary marries or turns 21 years old, any immigration benefits as a “child” terminates.

      The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) may provide relief to certain applicants who aged out. The eligibility of an applicant for age-out relief under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) may be determined only at the time a visa application is adjudicated by a consular officer. Any derivative children applying for visas must be either under 21 at the time the visa becomes current or qualify for CSPA relief in order to be issued.

      For additional information about the CSPA and how it may apply in your case, you may wish to visit the Embassy’s website at http://manila.usembassy.gov/wwwh3228.html

      Lastly, applicants’ visa fees will not be forfeited if the case is affected by retrogression.

      We hope this information is helpful to you.

  6. Hi! Yesterday we received a letter from embassy about RETROGRESSION.We are finished in medical and interview.We are only waiting for our visa issuance and yet embassy sent us a letter about retrogression.What is the meaning of that?we will wait our PD to become current for else to have visa?it takes months or year? BTW,we are F1 unmarried sons/daughters of US citezens.

    WE ARE SO DISAPPOINTED!! :(

    • We understand that your case has been unfortunately affected by retrogression. The retrogression is the result of extremely heavy demand for immigrant visa numbers in the F1 category, and it was necessary in order to keep visa issuance within the annual numerical limits allowed by law. U.S. immigration law requires that immigrant visa numbers be made available strictly in order of priority date. There is no provision within the law that would allow the numerical limitation to be waived in any individual’s case, regardless of the circumstances.

      There is no way we can reliably predict the movement of the cutoff dates, which can advance, remain at a standstill, regress or even become completely unavailable from month to month. Meanwhile, you or the petitioner may visit the State Department’s website at http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_1360.html for information on the movement of priority dates and visa availability.

  7. I applied for my brother (F4 category) in Oct 2001, visa was approved and submitted all required documents to NVC in April 2011, paid all necessary fees, and waited for visa interview from embassy in India. During the waiting period, priority dates moved backward from Jan 2002 to Jan 2000. Now dates are moving very slow, Sept 2012 visa bulletin shows March 2001 processing. I have few questions:
    1. Why dates are moving that slow for F4 visas? What was the reason fro retrogression?
    2. Some documents submitted to NVC had short validity date (e.g. I-864, police clearance certificate, etc.), do I need to resubmit those documents again?
    3. Do I need to pay all fees again?
    4. What should I do to expedite the process?

    Thanks for providing this blog! Please let me know. Thanks.

    Anil Kukreja
    kukrejaas@netzero.com

  8. Hi! Anyone who experienced the retrogression? Coz our case is affected,.we are finished in interview and medical,we are only waiting for our VISA to release..But US Embassy send us a letter about retrogression-earlier than MARCH1994 is eligible to process..We are march1995.. But as I see in this bulletin the F1 PD is APRIL1996..,Now my question is mabi2gyan na ba kme ng visa?? Kahit lampas na ang aming PD?? Hope na masagot niu po ung question ko.. Kce nag e-mail po ako sa US Embassy but no response til now..

    • Thank you for your interest in the VISAtisfied Voyager.

      If your priority date becomes current for processing, meaning your priorty date comes before the cut-off date, the Embassy’s Immigrant Visa (IV) Unit will contact you to resume processing your visa applications. You will be asked to update any expired documents when necessary.

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