Visa Numbers for January 2012

Availability of Immigrant Visa Numbers for January, 2012   By: Allen E. Kaye

Family-sponsored categories

 

 

All chargeability areas except the countries separately listed

China (Mainland Born)

India

Mexico

Philippines

F1

Unmarried Sons & Daughters of U.S. citizens

15 OCT 04

15 OCT 04

15 OCT 04

15 APR 93

15 APR 97

F2A

Spouses & Unmarried Children of Permanent Residents – Subject to Per Country Limit

22 APR 09

22 APR 09

22 APR 09

22 MAR 09

22 APR 09

F2B

Unmarried Sons & Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents

08 SEP 03

08 SEP 03

08 SEP 03

01 DEC 92

01 SEP 01

3rd

Married Sons & Daughters of U.S. Citizens

01 NOV 01

01 NOV 01

01 NOV 01

22 DEC 92

15 JUL 92

4th

Brothers & Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens

15 AUG 00

15 AUG 00

15 AUG 00

08 MAY 96

08 OCT 88

Employment-based categories

 

 

All chargeability areas
except the countries
separately listed

China (mainland born)

India

Mexico

Philippines

E1

Priority Workers

C

C

C

C

C

E2

Professionals Holding Advanced Degree or Persons of Exceptional Ability

C

01 JAN 09

01 JAN 09

C

C

E3

Skilled Workers & Professionals

01 FEB 06

15 OCT 04

08 AUG 02

01 FEB 06

01 FEB 06

EW

Other Workers (Unskilled Workers)

01 FEB 06

22 APR 03

01 AUG 02

01 FEB 06

01 FEB 06

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

E5

Pilot Programs

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

 

 

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES  

 

The first preference (unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens) category moved over one month to October 15, 2004 for all chargeability areas, China (mainland born), and India. Mexico moved one week to April 15, 1993. The Philippines moved six weeks to April 15, 1997.

The 2A second preference (spouses and unmarried children of permanent residents—subject to per country limit) category moved forward one month to April 22, 2009 for all chargeability areas, China (mainland born), India, and the Philippines. Mexico moved to March 22, 2009.

The 2B second preference (unmarried sons and daughters, 21 years of age or older, of permanent residents) category moved three weeks to September 8, 2003 for all chargeability areas, including China (mainland born) and India. Mexico moved two weeks to December 1, 1992. The Philippines moved two weeks to September 1, 2001.

The F3 third preference (married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens) category moved forward three weeks to November 1, 2001 for all chargeability areas, China (mainland born), and India. Mexico moved one week to December 22, 1992. The Philippines moved one week to July 15, 1992.

The F4 fourth preference (brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens) category moved one month to August 15, 2000 for all chargeability areas, India and China (mainland born). Mexico moved one week to May 8, 1996. The Philippines moved one month to October 8, 1988.

 

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.

 

EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES  

 

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 remained current for all chargeability areas including Mexico, and the Philippines. China (mainland born) and India moved eight and half months to January 1, 2009.

The E3 third preference (skilled workers and professionals) category moved forward three weeks to February 1, 2006 for all chargeability areas, Mexico and the Philippines. China (mainland born) moved to October 15, 2004. India moved one week to August 8, 2002.

The EW third preference other workers (unskilled workers) category moved one week to February 1, 2006 for all chargeability areas, Mexico and the Philippines. India moved to August 1, 2002. China remained at April 22, 2003.

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 remains 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 remained 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:

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

 

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.

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 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 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.

EMPLOYMENT PREFERENCE VISA AVAILABILITY

Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category:  Section 203(e) of the NACARA, 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.

 

DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY

 

Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides a maximum of up to 55,000 immigrant visas each fiscal year to permit immigration opportunities for persons from countries other than the principal sources of current immigration to the United States.  The Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997 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 reduction has resulted in the DV-2011 annual limit being reduced 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 January, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2011 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:

All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately

Region

 

AFRICA: 24,700;

Except:            EGYPT:             16,800

ETHIOPIA:             16,800

NIGERIA:            14,500

ASIA: 18,500;

EUROPE:             16,500;

NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS):             6;

OCEANIA:             650;

SOUTH AMERICA and the CARIBBEAN:             675

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-2010 program ends as of September 30, 2011.  DV visas may not be issued to DV-2011 applicants after that date.  Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2010 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2011.  DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2010 cannot be taken for granted.  Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.

CHINA-MAINLAND BORN AND INDIA EMPLOYMENT-BASED SECOND PREFERENCE VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS

The China and India Employment Second preference cut-off date has been advanced at a rapid rate in recent months. As previously noted, this action was intended to generate significant levels of new filings for adjustment of status at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices. USCIS has reported that the rate of new filings is currently far below that which they had anticipated, prompting an even more aggressive movement of the cut-off date for January and possibly beyond. While this action greatly increases the potential for an eventual retrogression of the cut-off at some point during the year, it also provides the best opportunity to utilize all numbers available under the annual limit.  

 

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