Availability of Immigrant Visa Numbers for February, 2014
By: Allen E. Kaye
|All chargeability areas except the countries separately listed||China (Mainland Born)||India||Mexico||Philippines|
|F1||Unmarried Sons & Daughters of U.S. citizens||01 JAN 07||01 JAN 07||01 JAN 07||01 OCT 93||15 AUG 01|
|F2A||Spouses & Unmarried Children of Permanent Residents – Subject to Per Country Limit||08 SEP 13||08 SEP 13||08 SEP 13||01 SEP 13||08 SEP 13|
|F2B||Unmarried Sons & Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents||08 JUL 06||08 JUL 06||08 JUL 06||01 MAY 93||22 MAY 03|
|F3||Married Sons & Daughters of U.S. Citizens||15 MAY 03||15 MAY 03||15 MAY 03||01 JUN 93||08 FEB 93|
|F4||Brothers & Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens||22 OCT 01||22 OCT 01||22 OCT 01||08 NOV 96||08 AUG 90|
|All chargeability areas
except the countries
|China (mainland born)||India||Mexico||Philippines|
|E2||Professionals Holding Advanced Degree or Persons of Exceptional Ability||C||08 JAN 09||15 NOV 04||C||C|
|E3||Skilled Workers & Professionals||01 JUN 12||01 JUN 12||01 SEP 03||01 JUN 12||15 APR 07|
|EW||Other Workers (Unskilled Workers)||01 JUN 12||01 JUN 12||01 SEP 03||01 JUN 12||15 APR 07|
|E4||Certain Special Immigrants||C||C||C||C||C|
|E4||Certain Religious Workers (SR)||C||C||C||C||C|
|E5||Employment Creation (Investors)||C||C||C||C||C|
|E5||Employment Creation (Investors in Targeted Employment Areas)||C||C||C||C||C|
C = Current
U = Unavailable
Cut-off date = The cut-off date is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the statutory limit for the month.
Only applicants who have priority dates earlier than the cut-off date may be allocated a number
The first preference (unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens) category moved to January 1, 2007 for all chargeability areas, China (mainland born), and India. Mexico moved to October 1, 1993. The Philippines moved to August 15, 2001.
The 2A second preference (spouses and unmarried children of permanent residents—subject to per country limit) category remained at September 8, 2013 for all chargeability areas, China (mainland born), India, and the Philippines. Mexico remained at September 1, 2013.
The 2B second preference (unmarried sons and daughters, 21 years of age or older, of permanent residents) category moved to July 8, 2006 for all chargeability areas, including China (mainland born) and India. Mexico moved to May 1, 1993. The Philippines moved to May 22, 2003.
The F3 third preference (married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens) category moved to May 15, 2003 for all chargeability areas, China (mainland born), and India. Mexico remained at June 1, 1993. The Philippines moved to February 8, 1993.
The F4 fourth preference (brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens) category moved to October 22, 2001 for all chargeability areas, India, China (mainland born). Mexico moved to November 8, 1996. The Philippines moved to August 8, 1990.
NOTE: “immediate relatives” (husbands and wives, under 21-years-old unmarried children and parents of U.S. citizens over 21 years of age) are not included in this listing of family-sponsored preferences as they do not need a visa number.
The E1 first preference (Priority Workers) category remained current for all chargeability areas including China (mainland born), India, Mexico, Philippines.
The E2 second preference (professionals holding advanced degrees or persons of exceptional ability) category is current for all chargeability areas, Mexico and Philippines. India remained at November 15, 2004 and China moved to January 8, 2009.
The E3 third preference (skilled workers and professionals) category moved to June 1, 2012 for all chargeability areas, China (mainland born) and Mexico. India remained at September 1, 2003. The Philippines moved to April 15, 2007.
The EW third preference other workers (unskilled workers) category moved to June 1, 2012 for all chargeability areas, China (mainland born) and Mexico. India remained at September 1, 2003. The Philippines moved to April 15, 2007
The E4 fourth preference (certain special immigrants) category remains current for all chargeability areas, China (mainland born), India, Mexico and the Philippines.
The E4 fourth preference (certain religious workers,) category is current for all chargeability areas and China (mainland born), India, Mexico, and Philippines.
The E5 fifth preference – employment creation (investors) category remains current for all chargeability areas, China (mainland born), India, Mexico, and the Philippines. Employment Creation (Investors in Targeted Employment Areas) category remained current for all chargeability areas, China (mainland born), India, Mexico, and the Philippines. Pilot programs are current for all chargeability areas, China (mainland born), India, Mexico, and the Philippines.
DETERMINATION OF THE NUMERICAL LIMITS ON IMMIGRANTS REQUIRED UNDER THE TERMS OF THE IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT (INA)
1. 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.
2. Section 203 of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of immigrant visas as follows:
First: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of 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, and any unused first preference numbers:
A. Spouses and Children: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;
B. Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older): 23% of the overall second preference limitation.
Third: Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.
Fourth: Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three 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 P.L. 102-395.
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) provided 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: INDIA, MEXICO, PHILIPPINES and CHINA (mainland born). This limits the number of visas available to immigrants chargeable to these countries in the various preference categories.
DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY
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-2014 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 February, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2014 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|
|EUROPE||16,700||Except: Uzbekistan 13,900|
|NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS)||7|
|SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN||850|
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-2014 program ends as of September 30, 2014. DV visas may not be issued to DV-2014 applicants after that date. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2014 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2014. DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2014 cannot be taken for granted. Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30, 2014.
EMPLOYMENT-based Third Preference:
China: Rapid forward movement of the cut-off date, as a result of there being insufficient demand to use all available numbers, allowed the category to reach the Worldwide Third preference cut-off date in May 2014. The continued lack of demand has allowed the “otherwise unused” numbers available under that limit to be provided for use in the China Employment Third preference Other Workers category. The continued addition of those numbers has allowed the cut-off date for that category to reach the China Third preference date for November. This is the same action which has been possible for the Other Worker category in other “oversubscribed” countries such as India and Mexico. A sudden increase in demand for China Employment Third preference visas could require corrective action in the China Other Worker cut-off date at any time.
RETROGRESSION OF EMPLOYMENT CUT-OFF DATES
The India Employment Second and Third preference category cut-off dates were advanced very rapidly at the end of fiscal year 2014. Those movements were based strictly on the availability of thousands of “otherwise unused” numbers which could be made available without regard to the preference per-country annual limits.
The movements have resulted in a dramatic increase in the level of applicant demand received in recent months. This has required the retrogression of those cut-off dates for December in an effort to hold number use within the numerical limits.
VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS
FAMILY-sponsored categories (potential monthly movement)
F1: Three to five weeks
F2A: No forward movement, the Mexico cut-off date is likely to retrogress
at some point
F2B: Three to five weeks
F3: Three to five weeks
F4: Two or three weeks
EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement)
Employment First: Current
China: Three to five weeks
India: No forward movement
Worldwide: This cut-off date has been advanced extremely rapidly during the past seven months in an effort to generate new demand. As the rate of applicants who are able to have action on their cases finalized increases, it could have a significant impact on the cut-off date situation. The rapid forward movement of this cut-off date should not be expected to continue beyond February.
China: Expected to remain at the worldwide date
India: No forward movement
Mexico: Expected to remain at the worldwide date
Philippines: Three to six weeks
Employment Fourth: Current
Employment Fifth: Current
The above projections for the Family and Employment categories are for what is likely to happen during each of the next few months based on current applicant demand patterns. Readers should never assume that recent trends in cut-off date movements are guaranteed for the future, or that “corrective” action will not be required at some point in an effort to maintain number use within the applicable annual limits. The determination of the actual monthly cut-off dates is subject to fluctuations in applicant demand and a number of other variables. Unless indicated, those categories with a “Current” projection will remain so for the foreseeable future.