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March 15, 2011 by Immigration Law Attorney Lena Korial-Yonan, Esq.

USCIS has kindly provided a teleconference on March 15, 2011 regarding the issue of Family Retrogression. An Official in charge of preparing the Visa Bulletin and an official from the National Visa Center spoke on the issue of visa retrogression. Basically this teleconference is important because many lawful permanent resident spouses filed applications for their spouses in November and December 2010, expecting that the wait period would be around 4-5 months.

Now, however, the visa priority date for lawful permanent residents sponsoring their spouses is on or about April 2007, which means that the visas have retrogressed dramatically. The director of USCIS decides then how to allocate the number of available visas per year. The Visa Bulletin, available at, provides the current priority dates.

Future Projections of Visa Availability Dates

The speaker at this teleconference does NOT have any information on how long the retrogression will last.

Change of Address for Aliens Residing outside the U.S. Waiting for their Cases to be Processed

To make sure your address is current with Department of State, the May 2010 visa bulletin provides an item F, which contains information on how overseas applicants can update their address. If applicants are waiting outside the U.S., then the address needs to be changed with the National Visa Center.

Case Remains Open with Embassy if Visa Date has Retrogressed

If individuals have already had an interview at the U.S. Embassy and then the visa date retrogressed, the case will remain open until the visa date becomes available again.

Guidance on Applicants that have a pending Green Card Application Filed but the date has retrogressed

One of the callers requested information on what will happen to individuals who filed a green card application in the U.S. based on a petition for alien relative that had a current priority date. Of course, the problem is that now the dates have retrogressed.

The answer is that USCIS had sent out guidance on or about January 11, 2011 that states that these cases currently pending in good faith will be shipped to the National Benefits Center where they will remain until the date becomes current. Applicants will still be eligible for Employment Authorization and also eligible for renewals of employment authorization for as long as it takes for the date to become current.

Child Status Protection Act Not Part of this Teleconference

Many of the questions were about how the child status protection act applies to situations where the visa has retrogressed, and the speakers could not answer many of the questions because it is not their field.

General Comments

An attorney did call in and make comments expressing the sentiments of all people who filed their petition for alien relatives last year by lawful permanent resident spouses or lawful permanent parents for their children, only now to learn that the visa numbers have gone years back. Our office agrees with that attorney's comments.


Lena Korial-Yonan, P.A.
9425 Craven Road, Suite 5
Jacksonville, FL 32257
Phone: (904) 448-6646
Facsimile: (904) 448-8221

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