India EB-3 Retrogression

Last Updated: June 26, 2023

This notice serves to clarify the retrogression that will take place for Employment-Based Third preference (EB-3) visa applicants chargeable to India, effective in the July 2023 Visa Bulletin.  This notice is updated to further explain the reason for pro-rating EB-3 visas for applicants chargeable to India.

Why did the Department of State retrogress the India EB-3 Final Action Date in the July 2023 Visa Bulletin?

The Department of State is responsible for enforcing the annual limits on visa use established by Congress.  As the Department explains in “The Operation of the Numerical Control System,” when setting a Final Action Date in the Visa Bulletin, the demand for visas by applicants in an immigrant visa category chargeable to a particular country is compared to the visas remaining for that country in the current fiscal year.  If the demand for visas in a category exceeds the supply of available numbers, the Department establishes a Final Action Date which is the priority date of the first applicant for whom a visa number could not be immediately allocated. 

India is currently oversubscribed for immigrant visas in numerically limited immigrant visa categories as described in the Visa Bulletin: their total demand for family and employment-based visas during this fiscal year (FY2023) exceeds the 7% per-country limit permitted by law in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  As a result, applicants chargeable to India are subject to pro-rating under INA 202(e).  The Department estimates that by July 1, 2023, all of the pro-rated EB-3 visa numbers available to applicants chargeable to India in FY2023 will be used.  Further, because there is sufficient worldwide EB-3 demand, the Department cannot allocate additional otherwise unused EB-3 visas to India under INA 202(a)(5).

When will the Final Action Date for India EB-3 advance, or return to where it was in June?

The annual limits will reset with the start of the new fiscal year (FY2024), on October 1, 2023.  The EB-3 Final Action Date for India is expected to advance once the annual limits reset for FY2024; however, the movement of this date throughout the fiscal year depends on various factors such as visa demand and the Employment-Based annual limit, which at this time, is projected to be substantially lower than in FY2023.

Have these types of retrogressions, due to all visas being used, happened in the past?

Yes, this has occurred often for oversubscribed countries in Employment-Based categories, particularly when the annual limits were lower, as in pre-pandemic years.  Recent examples include the Visa Bulletin for June 2023, July 2019, June 2019, August 2018, and April 2018.