Visa Bulletin & Calculator:
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Visa Bulletin Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
The limit for Family-sponsored preference immigrants according to Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is 226,000.
The limit for Employment-based preference immigrants calculated under INA 201 is 140,292.
Section 202 prescribes that the per-country
limit for preference immigrants is set at 7% of the total annual Family-sponsored and Employment-based preference limits, which is 25,640.
The dependent area limit is set at 2%, or 7,326. If demand from a particular country exceeds this quota, then a cut-off date is implemented for that country.
Section 203(a) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Family-sponsored immigrant visas as follows:
First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.
Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:
A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;
B. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents: 23% of the overall second preference limitation.
Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.
Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.
Section 203(b) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Employment-based immigrant visas as follows:
EB1 Category: Priority Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.
EB2 Category: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.
EB3 Category: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to "*Other Workers".
EB4 Category: Certain Special Immigrants: 7.1% of the worldwide level.
EB5 Category: Employment Creation: 7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of Pub. L. 102-395.
On the visa bulletin chart, the listing of a date for any category indicates that the category is oversubscribed; "C" means current, i.e., numbers are
authorized for issuance to all qualified applicants; and "U" means unauthorized, i.e., numbers are not authorized for issuance.
Numbers are authorized for issuance only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the final action date listed in the visa bulletin.
The Department of State has a recorded message with the Final Action date information which can be heard at: (202) 485-7699. This recording is updated on or about the tenth of each month with information on final action dates for the following month.
Finding Your Priority Date:
If you are a prospective immigrant, you can find your priority date on Form I-797, Notice of Action, for the petition filed on your behalf. The waiting time before receiving an immigrant visa or adjusting status depends on:
Priority Dates for Family-Sponsored Preference Cases
- The demand for and supply of immigrant visas.
- The per-country visa limitations.
- The number of visas allocated for your preference category.
For family-sponsored immigrants, the priority date is the date that the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, or in certain instances the Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, is properly filed with USCIS.
Priority Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases
For employment-based immigrants, the priority date depends on the following:
||Then your priority date is the date:
|Your preference category requires a labor certification from Department of Labor (DOL)
The labor certification application is accepted for processing by DOL.
To preserve the priority date, the petitioner must file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, with USCIS within 180 days of the DOL approval date on the labor certification or else the labor certification is no longer valid.
|Your preference category does not require a DOL labor certification
||USCIS accepts Form I-140 for processing to classify the sponsored worker under the requested preference category.
|You are a fourth preference special immigrant, including religious workers
||USCIS accepts Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er) or Special Immigrant, for processing.
|You are a fifth preference investor
||USCIS accepts Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, for processing.
Usually the cut-off dates on the Visa Bulletin move forward in time, but not always. Demand for visa numbers by applicants with a variety of priority dates can fluctuate from one month to another, with an inevitable impact on cut-off dates. Such fluctuations can cause cut-off date movement to slow, stop, or even retrogress. Visa retrogression occurs when more people apply for a visa in a particular category or country than there are visas available for that month.
Retrogression typically occurs toward the end of the fiscal year as visa issuance approaches the annual category, or per-country limitations. Sometimes a priority date that meets the cut-off date one month will not meet the cut-off date the next month. When the new fiscal year begins on October 1, a new supply of visas is made available and usually, but not always, returns the dates to where they were before retrogression.
Checking Your Place in the Visa Queue
The Visa Bulletin allows you to check your place in the immigrant visa queue. The Visa Bulletin provides the most recent date for when a visa number is available for the different categories and countries for family-sponsored, employment-based and diversity (lottery) visas.
A visa must be available before you can take one of the final steps in the process of becoming a lawful permanent resident. Because more prospective immigrants want lawful permanent residency than the limited numbers of immigrant visas allow, not everyone can immediately get an immigrant visa. How long you must wait depends on your priority date, preference category, and the country to which the visa will be charged.
If the demand for immigrant visas is more than the supply for a particular immigrant visa preference category and country of chargeability, DOS considers the category and country "oversubscribed" and must impose a cut-off date to keep the allocation of visas within the statutory limits.
A visa is available to you when your priority date is earlier than the cut-off date shown for your preference category and country of chargeability in the applicable chart in the Visa Bulletin, as described above in the Acceptance of Adjustment of Status Applications section.
For example, if the Visa Bulletin shows a date of 15DEC07 for China in the Family 1st preference category (F1), visas are currently available for immigrants who have a priority date earlier than Dec. 15, 2007. Sometimes the demand for immigrant visas is less than the supply in a particular immigrant visa preference category and country of chargeability. In this situation, the Visa Bulletin shows that category as "C," meaning that immigrant visas are currently – or immediately – available to all qualified adjustment of status applicants and overseas immigrant visa applicants in that particular preference category and country of chargeability.
If the Visa Bulletin shows "U" in a category, this means that immigrant visas are temporarily unavailable to all applicants in that particular preference category and/or country of chargeability.
DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY
Section 203(c) of the INA provides up to 55,000 immigrant visas each fiscal year to permit additional immigration opportunities for
persons from countries with low admissions during the previous 5 years.
The NACARA stipulates that beginning with DV-99, and for as long as necessary,
up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NACARA program. DV visas are divided among six
geographic regions. No one country can receive more than seven percent of the available diversity visas in any one year.