September 2018 Visa Bulletin has been officially released (valid from September 1 to September 30 only). Please see below for more details.
D. SPECIAL IMMIGRANT (SI) TRANSLATOR CATEGORY VISA AVAILABILITY
Given the limited availability of visa numbers and the existing demand, it has been necessary to maintain a September Final Action Date of April 22, 2012.
E. DETERMINATION OF THE NUMERICAL LIMITS ON IMMIGRANTS REQUIRED UNDER THE TERMS OF THE IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT (INA)
The State Department is required to make a determination of the worldwide numerical limitations, as outlined in Section 201(c) and (d) of the INA, on an annual basis. These calculations are based in part on data provided by U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) regarding the number of immediate relative adjustments in the preceding year and the number of aliens paroled into the United States under Section 212(d)(5) in the second preceding year. Without this information, it is impossible to make an official determination of the annual limits. To avoid delays in processing while waiting for the USCIS data, the Visa Office (VO) bases allocations on the minimum annual limits outlined in Section 201 of the INA. On July 10th, USCIS provided the required data to VO.
The Department of State has determined the Family and Employment preference numerical limits for FY-2018 in accordance with the terms of Section 201 of the INA. These numerical limitations for FY-2018 are as follows:
Worldwide Family-Sponsored preference limit: 226,000
Worldwide Employment-Based preference limit: 140,292
Under INA Section 202(a), the per-country limit is fixed at 7% of the family and employment annual limits. For FY-2018 the per-country limit is 25,640. The dependent area annual limit is 2%, or 7,326.
F. FAMILY-SPONSORED VISA AVAILABILITY DURING SEPTEMBER
As mentioned in item E of the July Visa Bulletin, the level of applicant demand in several preference categories has been steadily increasing. This has resulted in the retrogression of the dates for several Family First and Third preference category dates for September. Such action has been necessary to hold number use within the worldwide annual limits.
The retrogression of the above mentioned family dates will only be temporary and in October, the first month of fiscal year 2019, the final action dates will be returned to (at least) those established for August.
G. OVERSUBSCRIPTION OF SEPTEMBER EMPLOYMENT-BASED SECOND AND THIRD PREFERENCE CATEGORIES
WORLDWIDE, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, MEXICO, AND PHILIPPINES EMPLOYMENT-BASED SECOND (E2), Third (E3), and Third Other Worker (EW) PREFERENCES: As readers were advised in item F of the July Visa Bulletin, there has been an extremely high rate of demand for Employment numbers, primarily for USCIS adjustment of status applicants as a result of the successful implementation of their new interview process. Therefore, pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act, it has been necessary to impose E2, E3, and EW Final Action Dates for the month of September with these dates being imposed immediately for new requests for visa numbers. This action will allow the Department to hold worldwide number use within the maximum allowed under the FY-2018 annual limits.
The implementation of the above mentioned dates will only be temporary and in October, the first month of fiscal year 2019, the final action dates will be returned to those established for August.
Readers were also advised in item F of the July Visa Bulletin that some retrogression might occur prior to the end of the fiscal year. It has been necessary to retrogress the September Final Action Dates for the China Employment-based Second, and India Employment Second, Third, and Third Other Worker preferences in an effort to hold worldwide number use within the maximum allowed under their FY-2018 annual limits. This will only be temporary and in October, the first month of fiscal year 2019, the final action dates will be returned to those established for August.
H. VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS
FAMILY-sponsored categories (potential monthly movement)
F1: Up to three weeks (after October recovery)
F2A: Three to five weeks
F2B: Up to six weeks
F3: Three to five weeks (after October recovery)
F4: Up to five weeks
EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement)
WORLDWIDE (all countries): October Final Action Dates will be imposed for all countries. Limited, if any forward movement can be expected prior to December.
Worldwide: Current for the foreseeable future.
China: Slow movement pending receipt of demand from recent advances
India: Up to two weeks
China: Up to three weeks
India: Slow movement pending receipt of demand from recent advances
Employment Fourth: Current for most countries
El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras: Little, if any forward movement
Mexico: Up to three months
Employment Fifth: The category will remain “Current” for most countries
China-mainland born: Up to one week
Vietnam: Steady forward movement
The above final action date projections for the Family and Employment categories indicate what is likely to happen on a monthly basis through January. The determination of the actual monthly final action dates is subject to fluctuations in applicant demand and a number of other variables.