Visa Bulletin For February 2019

Express News

By USCIS: Updated: January 15, 2019

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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 22SEP11 22SEP11 22SEP11 01AUG97 15MAR07
F2A 01DEC16 01DEC16 01DEC16 15NOV16 01DEC16
F2B 01MAY12 01MAY12 01MAY12 22JUL97 01JUL07
F3 22AUG06 22AUG06 22AUG06 22DEC95 22AUG95
F4 22JUN05 22JUN05 22JUN04 08FEB98 01OCT95

*NOTE: For February, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 15NOV16. F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 15NOV16 and earlier than 01DEC16. 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 08APR12 08APR12 08APR12 22SEP99 15MAR08
F2A 01DEC17 01DEC17 01DEC17 01DEC17 01DEC17
F2B 22JUN14 22JUN14 22JUN14 08OCT97 15JAN08
F3 01FEB07 01FEB07 01FEB07 08JUN00 01AUG97
F4 15JUN06 15JUN06 01FEB05 01NOV98 08DEC97

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 01DEC17 08FEB17 01DEC17 08FEB17 01DEC17 01DEC17 01DEC17
2nd C 01OCT15 C 06APR09 C C C
3rd C 01JUL15 C 22APR09 C 01AUG17 C
Other Workers C 01AUG07 C 22APR09 C 01AUG17 C
4th C C 01MAR16 C 01SEP17 C C
Certain Religious Workers U U U U U U U
5th Non-Regional Center
(C5 and T5)
C 01SEP14 C C C C 15JUN16
5th Regional Center
(I5 and R5)
U U U U U U U

*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 01JUN18 01OCT17 01JUN18 01OCT17 01JUN18 01JUN18
2nd C 01NOV15 C 22MAY09 C C
3rd C 01JAN16 C 01APR10 C 01OCT17
Other Workers C 01JUN08 C 01APR10 C 01OCT17
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.

 SCHEDULED EXPIRATION OF TWO EMPLOYMENT VISA CATEGORIES

Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR):

With the expiration of the continuing resolution on December 21, 2018 authorization for the non-minister special immigrant program has lapsed. No SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases.  Therefore, the final action date for this category has been listed as “Unavailable” for February.

If there is legislative action extending this category for FY-2019, the final action date would immediately become “Current” for February for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras which would be subject to a March 1, 2016 final action date, and for Mexico which would be subject to a September 1, 2017 final action date.

Employment Fifth Preference Categories (I5 and R5):

With the expiration of the continuing resolution on December 21, 2018 authorization for the immigrant investor pilot program has lapsed.  No I5 or R5 visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases.  Therefore, the final action dates for the I5 and R5 categories have been listed as “Unavailable” for February.

If there is legislative action extending them for FY-2019, the final action dates would immediately become “Current” for February for all countries except China-mainland born, which would be subject to a September 1, 2014 final action date and Vietnam, which would be subject to a June 15, 2016 final action date.

E.  VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS

FAMILY-sponsored categories (potential monthly movement)

Worldwide dates (except oversubscribed countries):

F1:  Up to five weeks
F2A: Up to one month
F2B: Up to two months
F3:  Up to two weeks
F4:  Up to six weeks

EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement)

Employment First:

WORLDWIDE (most countries):  Up to two months.
China and India:  Up to one month.

Employment Second:

Worldwide:  Current for the foreseeable future.
China:      Up to three months.
India:      Up to one week

Employment Third:

Worldwide:  Current
China:         Up to three weeks.
India:          Up to three months.
Mexico:       Current
Philippines:  Rapid movement to generate demand.

Employment Fourth:  Current for most countries.

El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras:   Up to one week.
Mexico:    Rapid forward movement until limit is reached.

Employment Fifth:  The category will remain “Current” for most countries.

China-mainland born:  Up to one week.
Vietnam:  Up to three weeks.

The above final action date projections for the Family and Employment categories indicate what is likely to happen on a monthly basis through May.  The determination of the actual monthly final action dates is subject to fluctuations in applicant demand and a number of other variables. It is also important to remember that by no means has every applicant with a priority date earlier than a prevailing final action date been processed for final visa action, with applicants often processing at their own initiative and convenience.