What is Visa Retrogression?

Based on regulations set by the United States Congress, many different types of immigration visas are capped. This means that only a limited number of them may be issued each year. As a result, some qualified applicants may find their employment immigration approval has been delayed because of ‘visa retrogression’. 

As described by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), visa retrogression occurs when more people apply for a visa in a given time frame than there are visas available. Below, our Los Angeles employment visa lawyer provides a more in-depth explanation of what visa retrogression is and the implications of having your visa delayed. 

Employment Visas: The Waiting List

Not all categories of immigration are subject to statutory caps. For example, an unlimited number of spousal visas can be issued each year. Every qualified applicant will be able to obtain a spousal visa, regardless of how many people actually apply for one. Unfortunately, that is not true with every type of immigration. Popular employment visas are subject to caps. As a result, qualified applicants may end up on a waiting list. 

Understanding the Priority Date

When you are placed on a waiting list for an employment visa, your application will receive a priority date. Typically, that priority date will be that same date that your completed application was filed with USCIS. Though, it may be slightly later, as the Department of Labor (DOL) may have been required to certify your employment visa application. 

VISA Retrogression: The Application is Being Delayed

In some cases, employment visa applicants will see their priority date “retrogressed”. In other words, the priority date listed on the application will be moved back. In practice, this simply means that your work visa application is being placed on hold. For some reason — usually because there have been a higher number of applications submitted than there are visas available — the application is being temporarily delayed. 

Once more visas become available, the priority date will move forward once again. In most cases, these delays do not last all that long. However, unfortunately, there are also some exceptions. To be clear, having your visa ‘retrogressed’ does not typically mean that anything is wrong with your individual application. 

If your employment visa is being delayed and you have questions about expediting the process, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney. Depending on the specific nature of your immigration application, there may be some options available.

Discuss Your Case With Our Los Angeles, CA Employment Visa Lawyers Today

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, our passionate California employment immigration attorney has the skills, training, and experience needed to handle the full range of work visa issues. If your employment visa is currently being delayed, we are here to offer guidance and support. 

To arrange a confidential initial consultation, please contact us now. We represent immigrants in Los Angeles and throughout the surrounding region in Southern California, including San Bernardino County, Ventura County, and Orange County.