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Family-Based Priority Dates (FB)

Calendar 152126711 Calendar 152126711

Calendar 152126711 Family-Based Priority Dates (FB)The SEPTEMBER 2017 Visa Bulletin summarizes “Application Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications.” These indicate when to notify immigrant visa applicants to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center (NVC) regarding Family-Based Priority Dates (FB).

Unless otherwise indicated in this Visa Bulletin, individuals seeking to file applications for adjustment of status with USCIS must use the “Application Final Action Dates” charts below to determine when they can file such applications. This Bulletin may indicate whether such individuals may instead use the “Dates for Filing Visa Applications” charts when USCIS determines that more immigrant visas are available for the fiscal year than known applicants for such visas.

Procedures for Determining Date

Consular officers must report documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas to DoS (immigrant visa processing or IV processing). USCIS reports applicants for adjustment of status (I-485 application for the green card in the US). To the extent possible, the Visa Office has made allocations in the charts below in chronological order of reported priority dates, for demand received by August 9, 2017. If they could not satisfy all demand, they have deemed the category or foreign state with excessive demand as “oversubscribed.” The cut-off date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who is not within numerical limits.

If retrogression of a cut-off date during the monthly allocation process becomes necessary, the Visa Office (VO) will honor supplemental requests for numbers only if a priority date falls within the new cut-off date announced in this Visa Bulletin. Should an annual limit be reached, the preference category will immediately become “unavailable”, and the Visa Office will honor no further requests for visa numbers.

Application Final Action Dates for Family-Sponsored Preference Cases SEPTEMBER 2017

*NOTE: For SEPTEMBER 2017, F2A numbers EXEMPT FROM PER-COUNTRY LIMIT are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 22SEP15. F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 22SEP15 and earlier than 01OCT15. (All F2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit.)

Dates for Filing Family-Sponsored Visa Applications SEPTEMBER 2017

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 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 NVC for an immigrant visa. Applicants in categories designated “current” 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.

Retrogression of Family Preference Final Action Dates

Family First Preference (F1):  Worldwide, China, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, and Honduras

Continued high demand for F1 preference numbers has required retrogression of final action dates for September 2017. The Visa Office has taken this action to hold number use within the Worldwide F1 annual limit. Final action date for these countries will return to December 22, 2010, for October 2017, the first month of fiscal year 2018.

Family Fourth Preference (F4): Worldwide, China, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, and Honduras

Continued high demand for F4 preference numbers requires retrogression of the final action date for September 2017. The Visa Office has taken this action to hold number use within the Worldwide F4 annual limit. When the VO announces final action dates for these countries in October 2017, the first month of fiscal year 2018, they will return to the final action dates established for August 2017.

Please Note: Applicants entitled to immigrant status become documentarily qualified at their own initiative and convenience. By no means has the Visa Office processed every applicant with a priority date earlier than a prevailing final action date been processed.  On the contrary, the VO makes visa allotments only on the basis of total applicants reported documentarily qualified each month, compared with the amount of available numbers. For example, during the past month, over 12,000 applicants who became documentarily qualified in the Family preference categories have priority dates earlier than final action dates established for August 2017.  Such demand for visa numbers can fluctuate from month to month, with inevitable impact on final action dates.

Cut-Off Dates and Priority Dates

The cut-off date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who is not within numerical limits. The Visa Office may allot an immigrant visa number only to applicants with priority dates earlier than the cut-off date. If it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process for the Visa Office (VO) to retrogress a cut-off date, the VO will honor supplemental requests 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 sets the per-country limit for preference immigrants at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits, i.e., 25,620. The dependent area limit is 2%, or 7,320.

Immigrant Visa Issuance

INA § 203(e) provides that the Visa Office issue family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas to eligible immigrants in the order in which they file an application. INA §203(d) entitles spouses and children of preference immigrants to the same status, and the same order of consideration, if such spouses and children accompany or follow 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. At present, these provisions apply to the following oversubscribed chargeability areas: CHINA-mainland born, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, 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 available numbers. (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.