Visa Bulletin For August 2018

Number 20
Volume X
Washington, D.C

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A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during August 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 July 10th. 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 08MAY11 08MAY11 08MAY11 01AUG97 01AUG06
F2A 22JUL16 22JUL16 22JUL16 01JUL16 22JUL16
F2B 22OCT11 22OCT11 22OCT11 01APR97 15FEB07
F3 15JUN06 15JUN06 15JUN06 01DEC95 01MAY95
F4 22DEC04 22DEC04 22MAR04 15JAN98 22APR95

*NOTE: For August, F2A numbers 
EXEMPT from per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 01JUL16. F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 01JUL16 and earlier than 22JUL16. 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
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 
F1 08MAR12 08MAR12 08MAR12 01SEP98 15FEB08
F2A 01DEC17 01DEC17 01DEC17 01DEC17 01DEC17
F2B 08JAN12 08JAN12 08JAN12 08JUN97 15DEC07
F3 22SEP06 22SEP06 22SEP06 08OCT98 01AUG95
F4 01MAY05 01MAY05 01JAN05 01JUN98 01DEC95

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
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES VIETNAM
1st 01MAY16 01JAN12 01MAY16 01JAN12 01MAY16 01MAY16 01MAY16
2nd C 01MAR15 C 15MAR09 C C C
3rd C 01JUL14 C 01JAN09 C 01JUN17 C
Other Workers C 01MAY07 C 01JAN09 C 01JUN17 C
4th C C 08FEB16 08FEB16 08FEB16 C C
Certain Religious Workers C C 08FEB16 08FEB16 08FEB16 C C
5th Non-Regional Center
(C5 and T5)
C 01AUG14 C C C C 01AUG14
5th Regional Center
(I5 and R5)
C 01AUG14 C C C C 01AUG14

*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
INDIA MEXICO  PHILIPPINES 
1st C C C C C C
2nd C 01APR15 C 22MAY09 C C
3rd C 01JAN16 C 01MAY09 C 01JUL17
Other Workers C 01JUN08 C 01MAY09 C 01JUL17
4th C C 01MAY16 C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C 01MAY16 C C C
5th Non-Regional Center
(C5 and T5)
C 01OCT14 C C C C
5th Regional Center
(I5 and R5)
C 01OCT14 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 tenth of each month with information on final action dates for the following month.

B.  DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST

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 August, 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:

Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except
Those Listed Separately
AFRICA CURRENT Except:
Egypt:      21,325
ASIA CURRENT Except:
Nepal:       6,950
EUROPE 23,325
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) CURRENT
OCEANIA 1,400
SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN
1,585

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 SEPTEMBER

For September, 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:

Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except
Those Listed Separately
AFRICA 39,500
ASIA CURRENT
EUROPE 25,775
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) CURRENT
OCEANIA 1,450
SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN
1,715

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 an August Final Action Date of April 22, 2012. 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.  FAMILY-SPONSORED VISA AVAILABILITY DURING SEPTEMBER

The level of applicant demand being received in several preference categories has been steadily increasing.  Although it is too early to tell at this time, continued high levels of demand might require the retrogression of one or more final action dates for September.  Such action would be necessary to hold number use within the overall worldwide annual limits.

INDIA:  The level of applicant demand being received in the Family Third and Fourth preference categories in recent months has increased dramatically.  It is expected that one or both of these final action dates will be retrogressed for September.  Such action would be necessary to hold number use within the per-country annual limit.

Any retrogression of the above mentioned preferences would be temporary and in October, the first month of fiscal year 2019, the final action dates would be returned to those established for August.

F.  OVERSUBSCRIPTION OF AUGUST EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CATEGORIES

WORLDWIDE, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, MEXICO, AND PHILIPPINES EMPLOYMENT-BASED FIRST (E1) PREFERENCE:  As readers were advised in item F of the July Visa Bulletin, there continues to be an extremely high rate of demand for E1 numbers, primarily for USCIS adjustment of status applicants. Therefore, pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act, it has been necessary to impose an E1 Final Action Date for the month of August, with this date being imposed immediately. This action will allow the Department to hold worldwide number use within the maximum allowed under the FY-2018 annual limits.

INDIA Employment-based Fourth (E4) AND Certain Religious Workers (SR) preference categories:  There has been extremely high demand in these preference categories. Pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act, it has been necessary to impose E4 and SR Final Action Dates for India, which has reached its per-country limit. This action will allow the Department to hold worldwide number use within the maximum allowed under the FY-2018 annual limits.

The implementation of the above mentioned dates will only be temporary, with the dates returning to Current status for October, the first month of fiscal year 2019.

G.  DIVERSITY VISA LOTTERY 2019 (DV-2019) RESULTS

The Kentucky Consular Center in Williamsburg, Kentucky has registered and notified the winners of the DV-2019 diversity lottery.  The diversity lottery was conducted under the terms of section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and makes available *50,000 permanent resident visas annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.  Approximately 87,610 applicants have been registered and notified and may now make an application for an immigrant visa. Since it is likely that some of the first *50,000 persons registered will not pursue their cases to visa issuance, this larger figure should insure that all DV-2019 numbers will be used during fiscal year 2019 (October 1, 2018 until September 30, 2019).

Applicants registered for the DV-2019 program were selected at random from 14,352,013 qualified entries (22,425,053 with derivatives) received during the 35-day application period that ran from noon, Eastern Daylight Time on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, until noon, Eastern Daylight Time on Wednesday, November 22, 2017.  The visas have been apportioned among six geographic regions with a maximum of seven percent available to persons born in any single country.  During the visa interview, principal applicants must provide proof of a high school education or its equivalent, or show two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience within the past five years.  Those selected will need to act on their immigrant visa applications quickly.  Applicants should follow the instructions in their notification letter and must fully complete the information requested.

Registrants living legally in the United States who wish to apply for adjustment of their status must contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for information on the requirements and procedures.  Once the total *50,000 visa numbers have been used, the program for fiscal year 2019 will end.  Selected applicants who do not receive visas by September 30, 2019 will derive no further benefit from their DV-2019 registration.  Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2019 principal applicants are only entitled to derivative diversity visa status until September 30, 2019.

Dates for the DV-2020 program registration period will be widely publicized in the coming months.  Those interested in entering the DV-2020 program should check the Department of State’s Visa web page in the coming months.

*The Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997 stipulated that up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas be made available for use under the NACARA program.  The reduction of the limit of available visas to 50,000 began with DV-2000.

The following is the statistical breakdown by foreign state of chargeability of those registered for the DV-2019 program:

AFRICA
ALGERIA  2,462 ESWATINI  1 NAMIBIA  7
ANGOLA  316 ETHIOPIA  3,856 NIGER  58
BENIN  751 GABON  41 RWANDA  510
BOTSWANA  3 GAMBIA, THE  41 SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE  0
BURKINA FASO  174 GHANA  2,484 SENEGAL  260
BURUNDI  300 GUINEA  719 SEYCHELLES  1
CABO VERDE  11 GUINEA-BISSAU  6 SIERRA LEONE  1,207
CAMEROON  2,978 KENYA  2,107 SOMALIA  196
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC  11 LESOTHO  3 SOUTH AFRICA  454
CHAD  47 LIBERIA  2,484 SOUTH SUDAN  37
COMOROS  10 LIBYA  261 SUDAN   2,617
CONGO  248 MADAGASCAR  38 TANZANIA  106
CONGO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE  4,186 MALAWI  22 TOGO  1,242
COTE D’IVOIRE 1,036 MALI  58 TUNISIA  115
DJIBOUTI  89 MAURITANIA  25 UGANDA  318
EGYPT  4,185 MAURITIUS  11 ZAMBIA  41
EQUATORIAL GUINEA  16 MOROCCO  1,717 ZIMBABWE  90
ERITREA  284 MOZAMBIQUE  7
ASIA
AFGHANISTAN  543 JAPAN  376 QATAR  38
BAHRAIN  16 JORDAN  613 SAUDI ARABIA  630
BHUTAN  38 NORTH KOREA  1 SINGAPORE  27
BRUNEI  0 KUWAIT  158 SRI LANKA  784
BURMA  273 LAOS  11 SYRIA  420
CAMBODIA  237 LEBANON  268 TAIWAN  374
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMIN. REGION  69 MALAYSIA  104 THAILAND  122
INDONESIA  179 MALDIVES  5 TIMOR-LESTE  0
IRAN  4,199 MONGOLIA  196 UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 157
IRAQ  731 NEPAL  3,633 YEMEN  1,193
ISRAEL  214 OMAN  10
EUROPE
ALBANIA  2,503 GREECE  98 NORTHERN IRELAND  8
ANDORRA  0 HUNGARY  92 NORWAY  19
ARMENIA  1,738 ICELAND  4   Svalbard  1
AUSTRIA  24 IRELAND  52 POLAND  461
AZERBAIJAN  1,203 ITALY  333 PORTUGAL  30
BELARUS  1,355 KAZAKHSTAN  886 ROMANIA  430
BELGIUM  42 KOSOVO  286 RUSSIA  3,641
BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA 53 KYRGYZSTAN  693 SAN MARINO  1
BULGARIA  411 LATVIA  52 SERBIA  307
CROATIA  43 LIECHTENSTEIN  0 SLOVAKIA  27
CYPRUS  6 LITHUANIA  184 SLOVENIA  9
CZECH REPUBLIC  64 LUXEMBOURG  5 SPAIN  164
DENMARK  32 MACEDONIA  270 SWEDEN  53
ESTONIA  26 MALTA  7 SWITZERLAND  47
FINLAND  47 MOLDOVA  1,138 TAJIKISTAN  1,171
FRANCE  366 MONACO  1 TURKEY  2,411
  French Polynesia  1 MONTENEGRO  28 TURKMENISTAN  258
  Saint Martin  1 NETHERLANDS  69 UKRAINE  4,025
  St. Pierre and Miquelon  1   Aruba  4 UZBEKISTAN  3,461
GEORGIA  867   Curacao  3 VATICAN CITY  4
GERMANY  488   Sint Maarten  2
NORTH AMERICA
BAHAMAS, THE  18
OCEANIA
AUSTRALIA  777 NAURU  22 SAMOA  7
  Christmas Island  3 NEW ZEALAND  242 SOLOMON ISLANDS  3
FIJI  396   Cook Islands  7 TONGA  58
KIRIBATI  9   Tokelau  3 TUVALU  0
MARSHALL ISLANDS  0 PALAU  2 VANUATU  0
MICRONESIA, FEDERATED STATES OF  1 PAPUA NEW GUINEA  8
SOUTH AMERICA, CENTRAL AMERICA, AND THE CARIBBEAN 
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA  4 DOMINICA  3 PARAGUAY  5
ARGENTINA  81 ECUADOR  224 SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS  0
BARBADOS  4 GRENADA  2 SAINT LUCIA  0
BELIZE  0 GUATEMALA  50 SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES 4
BOLIVIA  19 GUYANA  6 SURINAME  0
CHILE  41 HONDURAS  44 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO  33
COSTA RICA  28 NICARAGUA  15 URUGUAY  8
CUBA  326 PANAMA  3 VENEZUELA  1,282

Natives of the following countries were not eligible to participate in DV-2019:  Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born, excluding Hong Kong S.A.R., Macau, and Taiwan), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

 

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