Family-Based Priority Dates (FB)
The JANUARY 2017 Visa Bulletin summarizes “Application Final Action Dates” (consistent with prior Visa Bulletins) and “Dates for Filing Applications,” which indicate when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center (NVC) with regard to Family-Based Priority Dates (FB).
Unless otherwise indicated in this Visa Bulletin, individuals seeking to file applications for adjustment of status with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must use the “Application Final Action Dates” charts below to determine when they can file such applications. This Bulletin may indicate the ability for such individuals to instead use the “Dates for Filing Visa Applications” charts when USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for the fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas.
Procedures for Determining Date
Consular officers must report documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas to the Department of State (immigrant visa processing, or IV processing); USCIS reports applicants for adjustment of status (I-485 application for the green card in the United States). Allocations in the charts below have been made, to the extent possible, in chronological order of reported priority dates, for demand received by December 12, 2016. If all demand could not be satisfied, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive has been 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.
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. Should an annual limit be reached, the preference category will immediately become “unavailable”, and no further requests for numbers will be honored.
Application Final Action Dates for Family-Sponsored Preference Cases JANUARY 2017
*NOTE: For JANUARY 2017, F2A numbers EXEMPT FROM PER-COUNTRY LIMIT are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 08MAR15. F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 08MAR15 and earlier than 22MAR15. (All F2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit.)
Dates for Filing Family-Sponsored Visa Applications JANUARY 2016
The chart below reflects dates for filing visa applications within a timeframe that justifies immediate action in the application process. Applicants for immigrant visas with a priority date earlier than the cut-off date in the chart below may assemble and submit required documents to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC), following receipt of notification from NVC containing detailed instructions. The cut-off 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.
Click here to see if USCIS has determined whether you can use this chart instead of the “Application Final Action Dates” chart above for filing applications for adjustment of status this month with USCIS.
Cut-Off Dates and Priority Dates
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 with priority dates earlier than the cut-off date may be allotted an immigrant visa number. If it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process for the Visa Office (VO) 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 the Department of State Visa Bulletin.
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. INA §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.
Immigrant Visa Issuance
INA § 203(e) provides that family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition has been filed. INA §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 immigrant. The immigrant visa prorating provisions of INA §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.
On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that that class is oversubscribed; “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 dates are earlier than the cut-off date listed below.)
Note that many applicants have priority dates earlier than the listed cut-off dates. A cut-off date does not mean that everyone with a priority date before such date has already processed their case to conclusion and received a visa.
Family-Sponsored Preference Categories
INA § 203(a) prescribes preference classes for allotment of Family-sponsored immigrant visas as follows:
First (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of US Citizens
23,400 plus any numbers not required for 4th preference.
Second (F2) 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 1st preference numbers:
A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of US Permanent Residents
77% of the overall 2nd 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 US Permanent Residents
23% of the overall 2nd preference limitation.
Third (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of US Citizens
23,400, plus any numbers not required by 1st and 2nd preferences.
Fourth (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult US Citizens
65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.