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U.S. Visa Law & Policy

Visa Bulletin for July 2004

Number 71
Volume VIII
Washington, D.C.

IMMIGRANT NUMBERS FOR JULY 2004

A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

1. This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during July. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status. Allocations were made, to the extent possible under the numerical limitations, for the demand received by June 8th in the chronological order of the reported priority dates. If the demand could not be satisfied within the statutory or regulatory limits, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed. The cut-off date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits. Only applicants who have a priority date earlier than the cut-off date may be allotted a number. Immediately that it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a cut-off date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the priority date falls within the new cut-off date.

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. 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.

4. 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: INDIA, MEXICO, and PHILIPPINES.

5. 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 available for all qualified applicants; and "U" means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available. (NOTE: Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.)

Family All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st 22OCT00 22OCT00 15OCT94 15JUL90
2A* 01MAR00 01MAR00 15AUG97 01MAR00
2B 15JUN95 15JUN95 15FEB92 15JUN95
3rd 15OCT97 15OCT97 08MAR95 01MAR90
4th 08AUG92 22JUN91 08AUG92 22MAR82

*NOTE:  For July, 2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 15AUG97. 2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 15AUG97 and earlier than 01MAR00. (All 2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit; there are no 2A numbers for MEXICO subject to per-country limit.)

Employment-
Based
All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed INDIA MEXICO PHILLIPINES
1st C C C C
2nd C C C C
3rd C C C C
Other Workers C C C C
4th C C C C
Certain Religious
Workers
C C C C
5th C C C C
Targeted Employment Areas/Regional Centers C C C C

The Department of State has available a recorded message with visa availability information which can be heard at:  (area code 202) 663-1541. This recording will be updated in the middle of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.

B. 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-2004 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 July, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2004 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
Region Listed Separately

   

AFRICA

AF 32,500 Except: Ethiopia 29,850
Ghana 17,500
Nigeria 17,250

ASIA

AS 13,400  

EUROPE

EU 23,350 Except: Ukraine 11,400

NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS)

NA 15  

OCEANIA

OC 1,000  

SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN

SA 1,925  

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-2004 program ends as of September 30, 2004. DV visas may not be issued to DV-2004 applicants after that date. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2004 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2004. DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2004 cannot be taken for granted. Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30. Once all numbers provided by law for the DV-2004 program have been used, no further issuances will be possible.

C. ADVANCE NOTIFICATION OF THE DIVERSITY (DV) IMMIGRANT CATEGORY RANK CUT-OFFS WHICH WILL APPLY IN AUGUST

For August, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2004 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
Region Listed Separately

   

AFRICA

AF 34,300 Except: Ethiopia 30,500
Ghana 22,000
Nigeria 17,900

ASIA

AS 13,600  

EUROPE

EU 25,900  

NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS)

NA 15  

OCEANIA

OC CURRENT  

SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN

SA 2,175  

D. VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS

As mentioned in the June Visa Bulletin, cut-off dates have advanced very quickly during past two years, and it appears that CIS had begun to address their backlog of adjustment of status cases. As a result there has been a significant increase in demand for numbers in many categories. As the end of the fiscal year approaches, it may be necessary to retrogress some cut-off dates in August or September to keep visa issuances within the annual numerical limits set by law. It is particularly possible that there could be retrogressions in some Mexico and Philippines cut-off dates.

E. OBTAINING THE MONTHLY VISA BULLETIN

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs offers the monthly "Visa Bulletin" on the INTERNET'S WORLDWIDE WEB. The INTERNET Web address to access the Bulletin is:

http://travel.state.gov

From the home page, select the VISA section which contains the 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 First name/Last name (example: Subscribe Visa-Bulletin Sally Doe)

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 cut-off dates which can be heard at:  (area code 202) 663-1541. The recording is normally updated by the middle of each month with information on cut-off 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: June 8, 2004