Visa Bulletin-September, 2018

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:

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.

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
INDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES 
F108APR11
08APR1108APR1101AUG9715NOV06
F2A22JUL1622JUL1622JUL1601JUL1622JUL16
F2B01NOV1101NOV1101NOV1122APR9722APR07
F301MAY0601MAY0601MAY0622DEC95 01JUN95
F408JAN0508JAN0508APR0415JAN9801JUN95

22MAR05
22MAR05
22DEC10
01FEB16
01FEB16

*NOTE: For September, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlierthan 01JUL16. F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 01JUL16 and earlier than 22JUL16. 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
INDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES 
F108MAR1208MAR1208MAR1201SEP9815FEB08
F2A01DEC1701DEC1701DEC1701DEC1701DEC17
F2B22MAR1422MAR1422MAR1408JUN9715DEC07
F322SEP0622SEP0622SEP0608OCT9801AUG95
F401MAY0501MAY0501JAN0501JUN9801DEC95

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
INDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINESVIETNAM
1st01JUN1601JAN1201JUN1601JAN1201JUN1601JUN1601JUN16
2nd01JAN1301JAN1301JAN1301JAN0701JAN1301JAN1301JAN13
3rd01NOV1601NOV1401NOV1601JAN0301NOV1601NOV1601NOV16
Other Workers01NOV1601MAY0701NOV1601JAN0301NOV1601NOV1601NOV16
4thCC15FEB1615FEB1615FEB16CC
Certain Religious WorkersCC15FEB1615FEB1615FEB16CC
5th Non-Regional Center
(C5 and T5)
C08AUG14CCCC08AUG14
5th Regional Center
(I5 and R5)
C08AUG14CCCC08AUG14

*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
EL SALVADOR
GUATEMALA
HONDURAS
INDIAMEXICO PHILIPPINES 
1stCCCCCC
2ndC01APR15C22MAY09 CC
3rdC01JAN16C01MAY09C01JUL17
Other WorkersC01JUN08C01MAY09C01JUL17
4thCC01MAY16CCC
Certain Religious WorkersCC01MAY16CCC
5th Non-Regional Center
(C5 and T5)
C01OCT14CCCC
5th Regional Center
(I5 and R5)
C01OCT14CCCC

6.  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.

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

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-2018 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 September, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2018 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:

RegionAll DV Chargeability Areas Except
Those Listed Separately
 
AFRICA39,500 
ASIACURRENT

 

EUROPE25,775 
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) CURRENT 
OCEANIA1,450 
SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN
1,715 

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-2018 program ends as of September 30, 2018. DV visas may not be issued to DV-2018 applicants after that date. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2018 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2018. DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2018 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 OCTOBER

For October, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2019 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:

RegionAll DV Chargeability Areas Except
Those Listed Separately
 
AFRICA2,750Except: Egypt  1,900
ASIA1,000Except: Iran    800
            Nepal  600
EUROPE2,000 
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 4 
OCEANIA100 
SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN
150 

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)

Worldwide dates:

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)  

Employment First:  

WORLDWIDE (all countries):  October Final Action Dates will be imposed for all countries.  Limited, if any forward movement can be expected prior to December.  

Employment Second

Worldwide: Current for the foreseeable future.

China: Slow movement pending receipt of demand from recent advances   

India: Up to two weeks   

Employment Third:

Worldwide:  Current 

China: Up to three weeks   

India: Slow movement pending receipt of demand from recent advances   

Mexico: Current

Philippines: Minimal  

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

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