Visa Bulletin For July 2017

Practice Areas

A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during July for: “Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications,” indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center.

Unless otherwise indicated on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website at www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo, individuals seeking to file applications for adjustment of status with USCIS in the Department of Homeland Security must use the “Final Action Dates” charts below for determining when they can file such applications. When USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for the fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, USCIS will state on its website that applicants may instead use the “Dates for Filing Visa Applications” charts in this Bulletin.

  1. Procedures for determining dates. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; USCIS reports applicants for adjustment of status. Allocations in the charts below were made, to the extent possible, in chronological order of reported priority dates, for demand received by June 9th. If not all demand could be satisfied, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed. The final action date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits. If it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a final action date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the priority date falls within the new final action date announced in this bulletin. If at any time an annual limit were reached, it would be necessary to immediately make the preference category “unavailable”, and no further requests for numbers would be honored.
  2. Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000. The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000. 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, i.e., 25,620. The dependent area limit is set at 2%, or 7,320.
  3. INA Section 203(e) provides that family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition in behalf of each has been filed. Section 203(d) provides that spouses and children of preference immigrants are entitled to the same status, and the same order of consideration, if accompanying or following to join the principal. The visa prorating provisions of Section 202(e) apply to allocations for a foreign state or dependent area when visa demand exceeds the per-country limit. These provisions apply at present to the following oversubscribed chargeability areas:  CHINA-mainland born, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, INDIA, MEXICO, and PHILIPPINES.
  4. Section 203(a) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Family-sponsored immigrant visas as follows:

    FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

    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:

    1. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents:  77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;
    2. (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.

    A. FINAL ACTION DATES FOR FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCE CASES

    On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); “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. (NOTE: Numbers are authorized for issuance only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the final action date listed below.)

    Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA – mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
    F1 22DEC10 22DEC10 22DEC10 15JAN96 15SEP06
    F2A 08SEP15 08SEP15 08SEP15 22AUG15 08SEP15
    F2B 01NOV10 01NOV10 01NOV10 01JUN96 01NOV06
    F3 08JUL05 08JUL05 08JUL05 22MAR95 15DEC94
    F4 08MAY04 08MAY04 22SEP03 01AUG97 15FEB94

    *NOTE: For July, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 22AUG15. F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 22AUG15 and earlier than 08SEP15. All F2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit.

    B. DATES FOR FILING FAMILY-SPONSORED VISA APPLICATIONS

    The chart below reflects dates for filing visa applications within a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process. Applicants for immigrant visas who have a priority date earlier than the application date in the chart below may assemble and submit required documents to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, following receipt of notification from the National Visa Center containing detailed instructions. The application date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who cannot submit documentation to the National Visa Center for an immigrant visa. If a category is designated “current,” all applicants in the relevant category may file applications, regardless of priority date.

    The “C” listing indicates that the category is current, and that applications may be filed regardless of the applicant’s priority date. The listing of a date for any category indicates that only applicants with a priority date which is earlier than the listed date may file their application.

    Visit www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo for information on whether USCIS has determined that this chart can be used (in lieu of the chart in paragraph 4.A.) this month for filing applications for adjustment of status with USCIS.

    Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA – mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
    F1 22JUL11 22JUL11 22JUL11 01APR96 08SEP07
    F2A 08APR16 08APR16 08APR16 08APR16 08APR16
    F2B 01SEP11 01SEP11 01SEP11 08AUG96 22JUL07
    F3 01DEC05 01DEC05 01DEC05 01MAY95 01FEB95
    F4 15NOV04 15NOV04 22JUN04 08JAN98 08FEB95
  5. Section 203(b) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Employment-based immigrant visas as follows:

    EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES

    First: Priority Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

    Second: 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.

    Third: 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”.

    Fourth: Certain Special Immigrants:  7.1% of the worldwide level.

    Fifth: 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.

    A. FINAL ACTION DATES FOR EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CASES

    On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); “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. (NOTE: Numbers are authorized for issuance only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the final action date listed below.)

    Employment based All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA – mainland born EL SALVADOR GUATEMALA HONDURAS INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
    1st C 01JAN12 C 01JAN12 C C
    2nd C 22MAR13 C 22JUL08 C C
    3rd 08JUN17 01JAN12 08JUN17 15FEB06 08JUN17 15MAY14
    Other Workers 08JUN17 15JUL06 08JUN17 15FEB06 08JUN17 15MAY14
    4th C C 15AUG15 15AUG15 15AUG15 C
    Certain Religious Workers C C 15AUG15 15AUG15 15AUG15 C
    5th Non-Regional Center (C5 and T5) C 08JUN14 C C C C
    5th Regional Center (C5 and T5) C 08JUN14 C C C C

    *Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category:  Section 203(e) of the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year. This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program. Since the EW cut-off date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002.

    B. DATES FOR FILING OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA APPLICATIONS

    The chart below reflects dates for filing visa applications within a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process. Applicants for immigrant visas who have a priority date earlier than the application date in the chart may assemble and submit required documents to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, following receipt of notification from the National Visa Center containing detailed instructions. The application date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who cannot submit documentation to the National Visa Center for an immigrant visa. If a category is designated “current,” all applicants in the relevant category may file, regardless of priority date.

    The “C” listing indicates that the category is current, and that applications may be filed regardless of the applicant’s priority date. The listing of a date for any category indicates that only applicants with a priority date which is earlier than the listed date may file their application.

    Visit www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo for information on whether USCIS has determined that this chart can be used (in lieu of the chart in paragraph 5.A.) this month for filing applications for adjustment of status with USCIS.

    Employment based All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA – mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
    1st C C C C C
    2nd C 01OCT13 01FEB09 C C
    3rd C 01SEP15 01OCT06 C 01JUL15
    Other Workers C 01JUN08 01OCT06 C 01JUL15
    4th C C C C C
    Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
    5th Non-Regional Center (C5 and T5) C 01SEP14 C C C
    5th Regional Center (C5 and T5) C 01SEP14 C C C
  6. The Department of State has a recorded message with the cut-off date information for Final Application Action 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.

B. DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY FOR THE MONTH OF JULY

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 five 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. This resulted in reduction of the DV-2017 annual limit to 50,000. 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.

For July, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2017 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:

Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately
AFRICA CURRENT Except:
Egypt: 28,290
ASIA CURRENT Except:
Nepal: 6,400
EUROPE CURRENT
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) CURRENT
OCEANIA CURRENT
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN CURRENT

Entitlement to immigrant status in the DV category lasts only through the end of the fiscal (visa) year for which the applicant is selected in the lottery. The year of entitlement for all applicants registered for the DV-2017 program ends as of September 30, 2017. DV visas may not be issued to DV-2017 applicants after that date. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2017 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2017. DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2017 cannot be taken for granted. Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.

C. THE DIVERSITY (DV) IMMIGRANT CATEGORY RANK CUT-OFFS WHICH WILL APPLY IN AUGUST

For August, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2017 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:

Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately
AFRICA Current Except:
Egypt: 30,600
ASIA Current Except:
Nepal: 7,075
EUROPE Current  Except:
Uzbekistan: 13,300
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) Current
OCEANIA Current
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN Current

D. OVERSUBSCRIPTION OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CATEGORIES

CHINA Employment-based Third (E3) preference category:  Readers were advised in item F of the June Visa Bulletin number 6, that it would be necessary to impose a date no later than August. The continued high level of demand for E3 numbers for USCIS adjustment of status applicants has required the establishment of a date for July. This has been done in an attempt to hold number use within the China E3 annual limit. The China E3 date will return to October 1, 2014 for October, the first month of fiscal year 2018.

INDIA Employment-based Fourth (E4) AND Certain Religious Workers (SR) preference categories:  As readers were advised in the June Visa Bulletin number 6, there has been extremely high demand in the E4 and SR categories.  Pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act, it has been necessary to impose E4 and SR Final Action Dates for India, which has reached its per-country limit. This action will allow the Department to hold worldwide number use within the maximum allowed under the FY-2017 annual limits.

The date for these preferences will once again become CURRENT for October, the first month of fiscal year 2018.

E. DIVERSITY VISA LOTTERY 2018 (DV-2018) RESULTS

The Kentucky Consular Center in Williamsburg, Kentucky has registered and notified the winners of the DV-2018 diversity lottery.  The diversity lottery was conducted under the terms of section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and makes available *50,000 permanent resident visas annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.  Approximately 115,968 applicants have been registered and notified and may now make an application for an immigrant visa. Since it is likely that some of the first *50,000 persons registered will not pursue their cases to visa issuance, this larger figure should insure that all DV-2018 numbers will be used during fiscal year 2018 (October 1, 2017 until September 30, 2018).

Applicants registered for the DV-2018 program were selected at random from 14,692,258 qualified entries (23,088,613 with derivatives) received during the 34-day application period that ran from noon, Eastern Daylight Time on Wednesday, October 4, 2016, until noon, Eastern Daylight Time on Monday, November 7, 2016.  The visas have been apportioned among six geographic regions with a maximum of seven percent available to persons born in any single country.  During the visa interview, principal applicants must provide proof of a high school education or its equivalent, or show two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience within the past five years.  Those selected will need to act on their immigrant visa applications quickly.  Applicants should follow the instructions in their notification letter and must fully complete the information requested.

Registrants living legally in the United States who wish to apply for adjustment of their status must contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for information on the requirements and procedures.  Once the total *50,000 visa numbers have been used, the program for fiscal year 2018 will end.  Selected applicants who do not receive visas by September 30, 2018 will derive no further benefit from their DV-2018 registration.  Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2018 principal applicants are only entitled to derivative diversity visa status until September 30, 2018.

Dates for the DV-2019 program registration period will be widely publicized in the coming months.  Those interested in entering the DV-2019 program should check the Department of State’s Visa web page in the coming months.

*The Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997 stipulated that up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas be made available for use under the NACARA program.  The reduction of the limit of available visas to 50,000 began with DV-2000.

The following is the statistical breakdown by foreign state of chargeability of those registered for the DV-2018 program:

AFRICA
ALGERIA 2,897 ETHIOPIA 4,496 NIGER 57
ANGOLA 184 GABON 41 RWANDA 542
BENIN 611 GAMBIA, THE 64 SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE 0
BOTSWANA 10 GHANA 3,549 SENEGAL 400
BURKINA FASO 317 GUINEA-BISSAU 5 SIERRA LEONE 1,790
BURUNDI 193 GUINEA-BISSAU 5 SIERRA LEONE 1,790
CABO VERDE 24 KENYA 2,997 SOMALIA 436
CAMEROON 3,720 LESOTHO 4 SOUTH AFRICA 500
CENTRAL AFRICAN REP. 17 LIBERIA 3,989 SOUTH SUDAN 34
CHAD 85 LIBYA 441 SUDAN 3,781
COMOROS 7 MADAGASCAR 50 SWAZILAND 3
CONGO 240 MALAWI 36 TANZANIA 173
CONGO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE 4,497 MALI 126 TOGO 1,667
COTE D’IVOIRE 1,029 MAURITANIA 79 TUNISIA 181
DJIBOUTI 121 MAURITIUS 24 UGANDA 485
EGYPT 4,495 MOROCCA 2,719 ZAMBIA 68
EQUATORIAL GUINEA 11 MOZAMBIQUE 6 ZIMBABWE 149
ERITREA 556 NAMIBIA 16
ASIA
AFGHANISTAN 636 JAPAN 263 QATAR 46
BAHRAIN 14 JORDAN 447 SAUDI ARABIA 489
BHUTAN 16 NORTH KOREA 1 SINGAPORE 43
BRUNEI 2 KUWAIT 167 SRI LANKA 777
BURMA 209 LAOS 6 SYRIA 414
CAMBODIA 390 LEBANON 221 TAIWAN 318
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMIN. REGION 84 MALAYSIA 70 THAILAND 60
INDONESIA 167 MALDIVES 4 TIMOR-LESTE 0
IRAN 4,500 MONGOLIA 197 UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 197
IRAQ 754 NEPAL 4,097 YEMEN 1,239
ISRAEL 159 OMAN 10
EUROPE
ALBANIA 4,484 GREECE 171 NORTHERN IRELAND 16
ANDORRA 0 HUNGARY 205 NORWAY 47
ARMENIA 2,844 ICELAND 13 SVALBARD 1
AUSTRIA 89 IRELAND 123 POLAND 863
AZERBAIJAN 961 ITALY 546 PORTUGAL 84
BELARUS 1,466 KAZAKHSTAN 1,020 MACAU 5
BELGIUM 86 KOSOVO 464 ROMANIA 516
BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA 92 KYRGYZSTAN 753 RUSSIA 4,500
BULGARIA 776 LATVIA 91 SAN MARINO 0
CROATIA 63 LIECHTENSTEIN 0 SERBIA 560
CYPRUS 19 LITHUANIA 257 SLOVAKIA 82
CZECH REPUBLIC 95 LUXEMBOURG 2 SLOVENIA 10
DENMARK 45 MACEDONIA 514 SPAIN 311
FAROE ISLANDS 2 MALTA 2 SWEDEN 130
ESTONIA 61 MOLDOVA 1,418 SWITZERLAND 85
FINLAND 68 MONACO 2 TAJIKISTAN 1,209
FRANCE 649 MONTENEGRO 38 TURKEY 4,390
FRENCH POLYNESIA 15 NETHERLANDS 79 TURKMENISTAN 306
NEW CALEDONIA 2 ARUBA 8 UKRAINE 4,478
GEORGIA 1,195 CURACAO 10 UZBEKISTAN 4,494
GERMANY 886 SINT MAARTEN 4 VATICAN CITY 0
NORTH AMERICA
BAHAMAS, THE 15
OCEANIA
AUSTRALIA 2,154 NEW ZEALAND 546 SAMOA 10
FIJI 900 COOK ISLANDS 19 SOLOMON ISLANDS 10
KIRIBATI 18 NIUE 1 TONGA 129
MARSHALL ISLANDS 0 TOKELAU 2 TUVALU 0
MICRONESIA, FEDERATED STATES OF 6 PALAU 3 VANUATU 17
NAURU 25 PAPUA NEW GUINEA 23
SOUTH AMERICA, CENTRAL AMERICA, AND THE CARIBBEAN
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA 2 DOMINICA 8 PARAGUAY 7
ARGENTINA 109 ECUADOR 1,228 SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS 1
BARBADOS 2 GRENADA 11 SAINT LUCIA 14
BELIZE 1 GUATEMALA 120 SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES 8
BOLIVIA 52 GUYANA 10 SURINAME 6
CHILE 76 HONDURAS 144 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO 79
COSTA RICA 66 NICARAGUA 51 URUGUAY 36
CUBA 733 PANAMA 22 VENEZUELA 2,209

Natives of the following countries were not eligible to participate in DV-2018:  Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born, excluding Hong Kong S.A.R., Macau, and Taiwan), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

Source: https://travel.state.gov 

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