Immigrant Visas for Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents Retrogress
In our August 2010 newsletter, we announced that in the second preference category (spouses and children under 21 years of age), the Department of State is issuing visas for petitions filed in January 2010. This was a marked improvement over the previous backlog of up to 5 years.
However, in January 2011, the Department of State is processing petitions for spouses and children of permanent residents that were filed back in January 2008. This means that the visa bulletin has "retrogressed."
Other categories also retrogressed. The 1st preference category (unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens) increased from a 5-year wait to a 6-year wait. In the 2B category for adult sons and daughters of permanent residents, the wait increased to 8 years.
This retrogression highlights a simple reality of the priority date system: It is quite fluid and as a result, sometimes deceiving. A person waiting in the queue for his or her petition may appear to have a visa nearly available, only to learn that there were more petitions previously filed than it seemed. Congress should address this issue while keeping in mind our nation's interest in family unity.