Visa Bulletin-February 2015

A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

1.  This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during February. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status.  Allocations were made, to the extent possible, in chronological order of reported priority dates, for demand received by January 9th.  If not all demand could be satisfied, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed.  The cut-off date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits.  Only applicants who have a priority date earlier than the cut-off date may be allotted a number.  If it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a cut-off date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the priority date falls within the new cut-off 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, 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:

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.

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 available for all qualified applicants; and "U" means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available. (NOTE:  Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.) 

Family-SponsoredAll Chargeability Areas Except Those ListedCHINA-mainland bornINDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES
F122JUL0722JUL07 22JUL0701OCT9408JAN05
F2A08MAY1308MAY1308MAY1322APR1308MAY13
F2B22MAY0822MAY0822MAY0815DEC94 22FEB04
F301JAN0401JAN0401JAN0415JAN9415JUL93
F415APR0215APR0215APR0222APR9708AUG91

*NOTE:  For February, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 22APR13.  F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 22APR13 and earlier than 08MAY13.  (All F2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit; there are no F2A numbers for MEXICO subject to per-country limit.) 

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.

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 available for all qualified applicants; and "U" means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available.  (NOTE:  Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.) 

Employment- Based

All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed

CHINA - mainland bornINDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES
1stCCCCC
2ndC15MAR1001SEP05CC
3rd01JAN1401SEP1122DEC0301JAN1401JAN14
Other Workers01JAN1415AUG0522DEC0301JAN1401JAN14
4thCCCCC
Certain Religious WorkersCCCCC

5th
Targeted
Employment
Areas/
Regional Centers
and Pilot Programs

CCCCC

*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.

6.  The Department of State has a recorded message with the cut-off 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 cut-off dates for the following month.

D.  VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS

FAMILY-sponsored categories (potential monthly movement)

Worldwide dates:

F1: Up to three weeks
F2A: Three or four weeks
F2B: Three to six weeks
F3: Up to three weeks
F4: Two to four weeks

EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement)

Employment First: Current

Employment Second:

Worldwide: Current
China:        Three to six weeks
India:         Four to six months

Employment Third:

Worldwide: Rapid forward movement for at least another month or two. The rapid movement in recent months should generate a significant amount of demand for numbers. Once such demand materializes at the anticipated rate it will have a direct impact on this cut-off date. 

China:        Rapid forward movement. Such movement is likely to result
                 in a dramatic increase in demand which could require
                 "corrective" action within the next six months.
India:         Up to two weeks
Mexico:       Will remain at the worldwide date
Philippines:  Will remain at the worldwide date. Increased demand may
                  require "corrective" action at some point later in the
                  fiscal year. 

Employment Fourth: Current

Employment Fifth: Current - for most countries. The expected increase in
                            China-mainland born demand would require the
                            establishment of a cut-off date for such applicants
                            no later than the summer months. 
                         
                            The category will remain "Current" for all other countries
                            for the foreseeable future. 

The above projections for the Family and Employment categories indicate what is likely to happen on a monthly basis through May based on current applicant demand patterns. Readers should never assume that recent trends in cut-off date movements are guaranteed for the future, or that "corrective" action will not be required at some point in an effort to maintain number use within the applicable annual limits. The determination of the actual monthly cut-off dates is subject to monthly fluctuations in applicant demand and a number of other variables.

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