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Family-Based Immigrant Visa Backlogs Continue to Increase - February 22, 2011

Close family members of green card holders and U.S. citizens, who are already used to the long wait times for their visas, will now have to wait even longer. The March 2011 Visa Bulletin, the official Department of State publication establishing visa availability and cut-off dates, reports that heavy demand for visa numbers has required categories to continue to retrogress. The Family F2A category (spouses and children of lawful permanent residents) has been particularly impacted, with a cut-off date of January 1, 2007 for all countries except Mexico (with a cut-off date is January 1, 2006). Compare these dates to the cut-off in December 2010, when the F2A category was at August 1, 2010 for all countries, expect Mexico.

On the employment-based side, no significant changes are reported in the March Visa Bulletin, with numbers slowly inching forward for most categories. Still, EB-3 professional visas remain seriously backlogged - more than five to eight years - and EB-2 master-level visas remain backlogged for more than five years for foreign nationals from India and China.

Only Congress has the authority to reduce these long wait lines through ameliorative legislation.