EB-3 Filipino nurses waiting for their priority dates to be current know it’s been a roller coaster for several years now. The dates can go backwards as well as forwards – backwards is called retrogression and is the most frustrating of all. As of October 2016 visas are available for priority dates before December 1 2010. While this is all mysterious to most people, it’s probably not to you. If you’re a nurse in this situation, you should know these terms – your priority date must be before the cut-off date in the State Department’s monthly Visa Bulletin to be scheduled.
What can nurses do while they wait? Most importantly, don’t leave your current job and don’t buy plane tickets or make other costly plans to go to the U.S. It can look like you’re all set one month and then there’s a complete turnaround the next. Keep your documents as up-to-date as possible so you’re prepared for your interview or for processing at the National Visa Center at any time. Philippines NBI clearances are good for one year; get a new one if yours is out of date. If you lived or worked in other countries for more than 6 months since turning 16, you might already have a police clearance or certificate from when you left that country. If not, see if you can get it as police documents can take a long time.
If you’ve had any life changes, such as marriage or birth of children, you’ll need documents for them also. Marriage to a non-Filipino could positively affect the availability of your visa, because in some situations you can use the country of birth of your spouse instead of your own. For example, let’s say a Filipino marries someone whose country of birth is Dubai. As of August, 2015, visas are available for those born in Dubai (and most others in the world) with priority dates before July 15, 2015, whereas the priority date must be before June 1, 2004 for a Filipino. That’s a huge 11-year difference.
Keep in touch with your prospective employer, your agency, and/or your attorney to make sure your contact information and job status are current. Often the attorney is retained by the employer and may not be vigilant in updating you. You can contact the National Visa Center by email or phone to find out the current status if your case is there.
No one can accurately predict when your visa will be available, not even the people in charge of figuring out the dates at the State Department! And no one can magically move these dates forward either so don’t fall for any scams.