The Department of State (DOS) has significantly retrogressed cut-off dates for family-sponsored preference categories (F-1 to F-3) effective with the January 2011 Visa Bulletin.
The level of demand for visa numbers in the family-sponsored preference categories was very low from early 2009 through September 2010. Accordingly, the cut-off dates for most family preference categories were advanced at a rapid pace, in an attempt to generate demand so the annual numerical limits could be fully utilized. As a result of the accelerated level of demand over the last few months, the State Department has retrogressed most of the worldwide cut-off dates effective January 1, 2011. For example, the family sponsored preference 2A category (spouse and children of LPR) for most countries retrogressed from August 1, 2010, to January 1, 2008. The family sponsored 2B category for most countries retrogressed from June 1, 2005 to April 15, 2003, per the January 2011 Visa Bulletin.
According to the State Department, it is unlikely these categories will recover for some time since demand for family-sponsored preference categories does not appear to be subsiding.