Recent posts

  • Type: News
    Post date: Nov 24th 2020
    Body:

    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. 

    For more please click here.

  • Type: Visa Bulletin
    Post date: Nov 24th 2020
    Body:

    Number 48
    Volume X
    Washington, D.C

    View as Printer Friendly PDF

    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 12th. 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 15SEP14 15SEP14 15SEP14 08JAN98 15DEC11
    F2A C C C C C
    F2B 08JUL15 08JUL15 08JUL15 08APR99 01AUG11
    F3 15JUN08 15JUN08 15JUN08 01AUG96 15FEB02
    F4 22SEP06 22SEP06 08MAR05 22JUN98 01JAN02
    22MAR05
    22MAR05
    22DEC10
    01FEB16
    01FEB16

     

     

     

    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 22JUL15 22JUL15 22JUL15 22FEB00 08OCT12
    F2A 01AUG20 01AUG20 01AUG20 01AUG20 01AUG20
    F2B 01MAY16 01MAY16 01MAY16 01DEC99 01APR12
    F3 01JUN09 01JUN09 01JUN09 15AUG00 22DEC02
    F4 15SEP07 15SEP07 22NOV05 22APR99 01SEP02

    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, of which not more than 10,000 may be provided 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 are reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 are 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 C 01APR19 C 01APR19 C C C
    2nd C 01MAY16 C 01OCT09 C C C
    3rd C 01NOV17 C 15MAR10 C C C
    Other Workers C 15FEB09 C 15MAR10 C C C
    4th C C 01FEB18 C 22NOV18 C C
    Certain Religious Workers C C 01FEB18 C 22NOV18 C C
    5th Non-Regional Center
    (C5 and T5)
    C 15AUG15 C C C C 01SEP17
    5th Regional Center
    (I5 and R5)
    C 15AUG15 C C C C 01SEP17

     

    *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 final action date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002. For Fiscal Year 2021 this reduction will be limited to approximately 150.

    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 C 01NOV20 C 01NOV20 C C
    2nd C 01OCT16 C 15MAY11  C C
    3rd C 01JUN18 C 01JAN14 C C
    Other Workers C 01MAY09 C 01JAN14 C C
    4th C C 01MAY18 C C C
    Certain Religious Workers C C 01MAY18 C C C
    5th Non-Regional Center
    (C5 and T5)
    C 15DEC15 C C C C
    5th Regional Center
    (I5 and R5)
    C 15DEC15 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 seventeenth 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 will result in reduction of the DV-2021 annual limit to approximately 54,850. 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-2021 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 7,000 Except: Egypt   4,000
    ASIA 3,500

    Except: Iran       1,600
                  Nepal   2,750

    EUROPE 6,000  
    NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS)  4  
    OCEANIA 450  
    SOUTH AMERICA,
    and the CARIBBEAN
    550  

    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-2021 program ends as of September 30, 2021. DV visas may not be issued to DV-2021 applicants after that date. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2021 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2021. DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2021 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-2021 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 10,500 Except: Egypt  6,000
    ASIA 4,300 Except: Iran      2,400
                  Nepal  2,825
    EUROPE 7,500  
    NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS)  4  
    OCEANIA 600  
    SOUTH AMERICA,
    and the CARIBBEAN
    750  

    D.  FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION ON VISA PROCESSING AT U.S. EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, PLEASE VISIT THE BUREAU OF CONSULAR AFFAIRS WEBSITE AT TRAVEL.STATE.GOV

    E.  SCHEDULED EXPIRATION OF TWO EMPLOYMENT VISA CATEGORIES

    The Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act (P.L. 116-159) extends both the Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR) and Employment Fifth Preference Pilot (I5 and R5) Categories until December 11, 2020.

    Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR):

    Pursuant to the continuing resolution, the non-minister special immigrant program expires on December 11, 2020. No SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after midnight December 10, 2020. Visas issued prior to this date will only be issued with a validity date of December 10, 2020, 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 10, 2020.  If there is legislative action extending this category, the December dates would be applied for the entire month. If there is no legislative action extending this category, the category will become “Unavailable” effective midnight December 10, 2020.

    Employment Fifth Preference Categories (I5 and R5):

    Pursuant to the continuing resolution, the immigrant investor pilot program is extended until December 11, 2020. The I5 and R5 visas may be issued until close of business on December 11, 2020, 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 11, 2020.  If there is legislative action extending these categories, the December dates would be applied for the entire month.  If there is no legislative action extending this category, the category will become “Unavailable” effective midnight, December 11, 2020.  

    F.  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 17th 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 12, 2020

  • Type: Audio and Video
    Post date: Nov 23rd 2020
    Body:
  • Type: News
    Post date: Nov 19th 2020
    Body:

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced an extension of the flexibility in complying with requirements related to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, due to COVID-19.

    This temporary guidance was set to expire November 19. Because of ongoing precautions related to COVID-19, DHS has extended this policy until December 31, 2020.

    This provision only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. See the original news release for more information on how to obtain, remotely inspect, and retain copies of the identity and employment eligibility documents to complete Section 2 of Form I-9.

    Employers must monitor the DHS and ICE websites for additional updates about when the extensions end and normal operations resume.

    E-Verify participants who meet the criteria and choose the remote inspection option should continue to follow current guidance and create cases for their new hires within three business days from the date of hire. Please see COVID-19 webpage for more information.

  • Type: News
    Post date: Nov 19th 2020
    Body:
    Release Date 
    11/18/2020

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has received enough petitions to reach the congressionally mandated cap on H-2B visas for temporary nonagricultural workers for the first half of fiscal year 2021. Nov. 16 was the final receipt date for new cap-subject H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before April 1, 2021. USCIS will reject new cap-subject H-2B petitions received after Nov. 16, that request an employment start date before April 1, 2021.

    On Nov. 16, the number of beneficiaries USCIS received petitions for surpassed the total number of remaining H-2B visas available for the H-2B cap for the first half of FY 2021. In accordance with regulations, USCIS determined it was necessary to use a computer-generated process, commonly known as a lottery, to ensure the fair and orderly allocation of H-2B visa numbers to meet, but not exceed, the cap for the first half of FY 2021. On Nov. 18, USCIS conducted a lottery to randomly select petitions from those received on Nov. 16. As a result, USCIS assigned all petitions selected in the lottery the receipt date of Nov. 18. Premium processing service for petitions selected in the lottery also began on that date.

    USCIS continues to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap. This includes the following types of petitions:

    • Current H-2B workers in the U.S. who are extending their stay and, if applicable, changing the terms of their employment or changing their employers;
    • Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians, and/or supervisors of fish roe processing; and
    • Workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam from Nov. 28, 2009, until Dec. 31, 2029.

    U.S. businesses use the H-2B program to employ foreign workers for temporary nonagricultural jobs. Currently, Congress has set the H-2B cap at 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (Oct. 1 - March 31) and 33,000 (plus any unused numbers from the first half of the fiscal year) for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 - Sept. 30).

    For more information, visit the Cap Count for H-2B Nonimmigrants page.