Visa Bulletin - December 2018

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Number 24
Volume X
Washington, D.C

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A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during December 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 November 8th. 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, PHILIPPINES, and VIETNAM.

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.

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

08AUG11

08AUG11

08AUG11

01AUG97

15FEB07

F2A

08OCT16

08OCT16

08OCT16

22SEP16

08OCT16

F2B

15FEB12

15FEB12

15FEB12

08JUN97

08JUN07

F3

01AUG06

01AUG06

01AUG06

22DEC95 

08JUL95

F4

22APR05

22APR05

08JUN04

08FEB98

15JUL95

*NOTE: For December, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 22SEP16. F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 22SEP16 and earlier than 08OCT16. 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

08MAR12

08MAR12

08MAR12

22APR99

15FEB08

F2A

01DEC17

01DEC17

01DEC17

01DEC17

01DEC17

F2B

22MAR14

22MAR14

22MAR14

01AUG97

15DEC07

F3

08JAN07

08JAN07

08JAN07

08OCT99

01JUN97

F4

01FEB06

01FEB06

01JAN05

15SEP98

22APR97

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

VIETNAM

1st

01JUL17

01SEP16

01JUL17

01SEP16

01JUL17

01JUL17

01JUL17

2nd

C

01JUL15

C

01APR09

C

C

C

3rd

C

08JUN15

C

01MAR09

C

15JUN17

C

Other Workers

C

01JUN07

C

01MAR09

C

15JUN17

C

4th

C

C

22FEB16

C

01JAN17

C

C

Certain Religious Workers

C

C

22FEB16

C

01JAN17

C

C

5th Non-Regional Center
(C5 and T5)

C

22AUG14

C

C

C

C

01MAY16

5th Regional Center
(I5 and R5)

C

22AUG14

C

C

C

C

01MAY16

*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

INDIA

MEXICO 

PHILIPPINES 

1st

01JUN18

01OCT17

01JUN18

01OCT17

01JUN18

01JUN18

2nd

C

08SEP15

C

22MAY09 

C

C

3rd

C

01DEC15

C

01JAN10

C

01AUG17

Other Workers

C

01JUN08

C

01JAN10

C

01AUG17

4th

C

C

01MAY16

C

C

C

Certain Religious Workers

C

C

01MAY16

C

C

C

5th Non-Regional Center
(C5 and T5)

C

01OCT14

C

C

C

C

5th Regional Center
(I5 and R5)

C

01OCT14

C

C

C

C

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 DECEMBER

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-2019 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 December, 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:

Region

All DV Chargeability Areas Except
Those Listed Separately

 

AFRICA

9,800

Except:  Egypt  6,200

ASIA

2,900

Except:  Iran    2,200
             Nepal  1,500

EUROPE

6,600

 

NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 

11

 

OCEANIA

290

 

SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN

475

 

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-2019 program ends as of September 30, 2019. DV visas may not be issued to DV-2019 applicants after that date. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2019 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2019. DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2019 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 JANUARY

For January, 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:

Region

All DV Chargeability Areas Except
Those Listed Separately

 

AFRICA

13,100

Except: Egypt  8,300

ASIA

3,800

Except: Iran    2,900
            Nepal  2,150

EUROPE

8,800

 

NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 

12

 

OCEANIA

350

 

SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN

550

 

D.   SCHEDULED EXPIRATION OF TWO EMPLOYMENT VISA CATEGORIES

Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR):

Pursuant to the continuing resolution, signed on September 28, 2018, the non-minister special immigrant program expires on December 7, 2018. No SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after midnight December 6, 2018. Visas issued prior to this date will only be issued with a validity date of December 6, 2018, and all individuals seeking admission as a non-minister special immigrant must be admitted (repeat, admitted) into the U.S. no later than midnight December 6, 2018.

The final action date for this category has been listed as “Current” for December for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, which are subject to specific final action dates for December. If there is no legislative action extending this category for FY-2019, the final action date would immediately become “Unavailable” for December for all countries effective December 7, 2018.  
 

Employment Fifth Preference Categories (I5 and R5):

The continuing resolution signed on September 28, 2018 extended this immigrant investor pilot program until December 7, 2018. The I5 and R5 visas may be issued until close of business on December 7, 2018, and may be issued for the full validity period. No I5 or R5 visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after December 7, 2018.

The final action dates for the I5 and R5 categories have been listed as “Current” for December for all countries except China-mainland born and Vietnam, which are subject to specific final action dates for December. If there is no legislative action extending them for FY-2019, the final action dates would immediately become “Unavailable” for December for all countries effective December 8, 2018.

E.  OBTAINING THE MONTHLY VISA BULLETIN

To be placed on the Department of State’s E-mail subscription list for the “Visa Bulletin”, please send an E-mail to the following E-mail address:

listserv@calist.state.gov

and in the message body type:
Subscribe Visa-Bulletin 
(example: Subscribe Visa-Bulletin)

To be removed from the Department of State’s E-mail subscription list for the “Visa Bulletin”, send an e-mail message to the following E-mail address:

listserv@calist.state.gov

and in the message body type: Signoff Visa-Bulletin

The Department of State also has available a recorded message with visa final action dates which can be heard at: (202) 485-7699. The recording is normally updated on/about the 10th of each month with information on final action dates for the following month.

Readers may submit questions regarding Visa Bulletin related items by E-mail at the following address:

VISABULLETIN@STATE.GOV

(This address cannot be used to subscribe to the Visa Bulletin.)

Department of State Publication 9514
CA/VO:   November 8, 2018

 

Team Notes: 
Green Card: 
Agency: 
Immigration Law :