June 6, 2024

What is Visa Retrogression?


Visa retrogression occurs when more people apply for a visa in a particular category or country than there are visas available for that month. This typically occurs toward the end of the fiscal year as visa issuance approaches the annual category or per-country limitations. 


What exactly is a priority date? And what does this mean for you?

  • A priority date is the date that the USCIS considers an individual to have officially declared their intent to apply for permanent residency.
  • This date, specifically, is when the USCIS receives your I140 petition.
  • Your priority date determines your place in line for a green card.
  • You are technically in retrogression until your priority date matches the date the U.S. government posted as the ‘current’ date.


How does your priority date become ‘current’?

  • This works because the US government posts current priority dates on the visa bulletin, which is managed by the Department of State, not Interstaff.
  • For example, if their current priority date is November 2023, the only eligible people to get a green card are those whose priority dates are before November 2023.
  • The “priority date” list is updated each month by the U.S. government. Sometimes, it moves closer to the present day, and sometimes, it stays the same. So, for example, if your personal priority date is May 2024, then you have to wait until the government moves the “visa bulletin date” up to May 2024. All the way up until and through April 2024, your case would still be pending at the National Visa Center.


Next steps:

  • When USCIS receives your I140, you will receive a priority date. You will be informed of your priority date, and Interstaff will track it for you. 
  • However, if you want to see how close your priority date is to becoming “present,” you can follow the Visa Bulletin HERE. Once the visa bulletin month and year match your priority date, you will be eligible for a green card.