Visa Bulletin, March, 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 
F122MAR11
22MAR1122MAR1122JUL9615OCT05
F2A22MAR1622MAR1622MAR1601MAR1622MAR16
F2B01MAR1101MAR1101MAR1115OCT9608SEP06
F315DEC0515DEC0515DEC0522JUN95 22MAR95
F422AUG0422AUG0401FEB0415NOV9722NOV94

22MAR05
22MAR05
22DEC10
01FEB16
01FEB16

*NOTE: For March, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 01MAR16. F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 01MAR16 and earlier than 22MAR16. 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 
F101JAN1201JAN1201JAN1208SEP9701OCT07
F2A01MAY1701MAY1701MAY1701MAY1701MAY17
F2B01SEP1101SEP1101SEP1101JAN9701SEP07
F301DEC0501DEC0501DEC0501APR9715JUN95
F422JAN0522JAN0522JUN0408FEB9801MAR95

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
INDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES
1stCCCCCC
2nd08DEC13C15DEC08CC
3rdC15NOV14C01JAN07 01MAY16
Other WorkersC01MAR0701JAN0701MAY16
4thCC01DEC15 C01JUL16 C
Certain Religious WorkersCC01DEC15C01JUL16C
5th Non-Regional Center
(C5 and T5)
C22JUL14CCCC
5th Regional Center
(I5 and R5)
C22JUL14CCCC

*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
2ndC01FEB15C08FEB09 CC
3rdC01JAN16C01JAN08C01OCT16
Other WorkersC01JUN08C01JAN08C01OCT16
4thCC15APR16CCC
Certain Religious WorkersCC15APR16CCC
5th Non-Regional Center
(C5 and T5)
C01SEP14CCCC
5th Regional Center
(I5 and R5)
C01SEP14CCCC

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 MARCH

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 March, 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
 
AFRICA17,700Except:
Egypt:      12,400
Ethiopia:  16,600
ASIA4,400

Except:
Nepal:     3,875

EUROPE13,800 
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 8 
OCEANIA800 
SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN
800 

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 APRIL

For April, 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
 
AFRICA21,100Except:
Egypt:      14,500
Ethiopia:  20,100
ASIA5,300Except:
Nepal: 4,550
EUROPE15,950 
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 10 
OCEANIA875 
SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN
925 

D.  SPECIAL IMMIGRANT (SI) TRANSLATOR CATEGORY VISA AVAILABILITY

Given the limited availability of visa numbers and the existing demand, the Department expects to reach the FY-2018 annual limit of 50 Special Immigrant Visas in the SI category early this year. As a result, it has been necessary to maintain a March Final Action Date of April 22, 2012. It is likely that number use will require the SI category to become “unavailable” in the coming months. Once the annual limit of 50 visas is reached, further issuances in the SI category will not be possible until October 2018, under the FY-2019 annual limit. The SQ Special Immigrant Visa category for certain Iraqi and Afghan nationals employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq or Afghanistan is not affected and remains current.

E.  VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS

Continued heavy applicant demand is expected to result in the Vietnam Employment Fifth preference category reaching the per-country annual limit during March.  Once this happens the category will become subject to a final action date, and visa availability for the remainder of FY-2018 will be dependent upon the extent to which otherwise unused numbers are available. 

F.  SCHEDULED EXPIRATION OF TWO EMPLOYMENT VISA CATEGORIES

Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR):

Pursuant to the continuing resolution, signed on February 9, 2018, the non-minister special immigrant program expires on March 23, 2018. No SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after midnight March 22, 2018. Visas issued prior to this date will only be issued with a validity date of March 22, 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 March 22, 2018.

If there is no legislative action extending this category for FY-2018, the final action date would immediately become "Unavailable" for March for all countries.

Employment Fifth Preference Categories (I5 and R5):

The continuing resolution signed on February 9, 2018 extended this immigrant investor pilot program until March 23, 2018. The I5 and R5 visas may be issued until close of business on March 23, 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 March 23, 2018.

If there is no legislative action extending this category for FY-2018, the final action date would  immediately become "Unavailable" for March for all countries

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