What Is Visa Retrogression?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is anticipating visa retrogression in several visa categories. So, what is visa retrogression, and how does it affect you?


Each month, the U.S. State Department releases a report of priority dates and whether they have changed or stayed the same. Priority dates are a key component of the application process for visas and other immigration privileges. The date is a placeholder for anyone waiting to apply for immigration benefits.

It’s important to stay updated on changing priority dates because, in some cases, the cut-off date for applications may be sooner rather than later, and you could miss the deadline. Whether a priority date moves depends on several factors, including the previous year’s applications and the Congressional limits on how many visas may be allotted per year per category.

If your priority date appears after the cut-off date, you will be retrogressed. This means that the USCIS has put Adjustment of Status applications on hold.

What This Means for You

If the priority date for your application was current before the Visa Bulletin update, your adjustment of status is on hold until the date becomes current again. Your AP/EAD card will be processed, but you may experience slightly longer wait times.

Immigrants who file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, will not be impacted by retrogression, and their application will continue to be processed.

If you are in retrogression, you should not travel outside of the United States. Because your AP/EAD card is pending, leaving the country would be considered abandoning your application which would cause the USCIS to deny your immigration status request.


That said, if you have plans to travel for the holidays, you may need to speak with your family about a change of plans. Abandoning your application will essentially erase it, and you may have to reapply and go through the whole process over again.

If you are in retrogression, it’s better to play it safe and stay within the United States until your date becomes current. The USCIS releases updates every month, so check in next month to see if there have been any changes.

For legal help regarding visa applications and adjustment of status, contact Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. L.P.A. today.