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U.S. Visa Law & Policy

Visa Bulletin for December 2007

Number 113
Volume VIII
Washington, D.C.

A.  STATUTORY NUMBERS

1. This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during December. 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 November 13th 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:  CHINA-mainland born, 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 CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st  08JAN02 08JAN02   08JAN02   01JUL92 22SEP92
2A 15JAN03  15JAN03   15JAN03  01MAY02 15JAN03
2B 15OCT98 15OCT98 15OCT98 15MAR92 01JAN97
3rd 08APR00 08APR00 08APR00 08JUL92 01APR91
4th 22JUN97 08OCT96 15AUG96  22SEP94 08NOV85

*NOTE:  For December, 2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 01MAY02. 2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 01MAY02 and earlier than 15JAN03. (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

CHINA-
mainland born
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C
2nd C 01JAN03  01JAN02 C C
3rd 01SEP02  15OCT01   01MAY01 22APR01 01SEP02
Other
Workers
01OCT01 01OCT01 01OCT01 01OCT01 01OCT01
4th C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
5th C C C C C
Targeted Employment Areas/
Regional Centers
C 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.

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.

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-2008 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 December, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2008 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 11,100  

Except:
Egypt:
8,400
Ethiopia:
6,950
Nigeria:
6,900

ASIA 4,750  
EUROPE 11,100  
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 3  
OCEANIA 675  
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN 900  

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-2008 program ends as of September 30, 2008. DV visas may not be issued to DV-2008 applicants after that date. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2008 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2008. DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2008 cannot be taken for granted. Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.

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

For January, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2008 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 13,100

Except:
Egypt:
11,000
Ethiopia:
8,600
Nigeria:
7,200

ASIA 6,100      
EUROPE 13,600   
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 3     
OCEANIA 775  
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN 1,075  

D.  CHINA-MAINLAND BORN AND INDIA EMPLOYMENT SECOND PREFERENCE CUT-OFF DATES RETROGRESS FOR DECEMBER
   
It has been necessary to retrogress both the China-mainland born and India Employment Second preference cut-off dates. This is a direct result of extraordinarily heavy applicant demand for numbers, primarily by Citizenship and Immigration Services offices for adjustment of status cases. Additional retrogressions cannot be ruled out during the second quarter of the fiscal year. 

E. IMMIGRANT VISA AVAILABILITY DURING THE COMING MONTHS

The following projections are based on the demand patterns which are currently being experienced. Fluctuations in demand could alter such projections at any time.  Therefore, they should only be used as a guideline of what might occur. Under no circumstances should they be used as a basis for making any formal plans prior to the announcement of the monthly cut-off dates. 

Family Preferences - Worldwide:  Movement consistent with that of recent months can be expected for the foreseeable future.

Employment Preferences - Worldwide and Philippines:

First:  Will remain “Current”

Second:  Will remain “Current”

Third:  Slow forward movement should be possible while demand patterns are established. 

Third “Other Workers” (All Countries):  Little if any forward movement is expected at this time. Should the current demand pattern continue, it may be necessary to retrogress the cut-off date at some point later in the fiscal year.

CHINA-mainland born and INDIA:

Employment Preferences: 

First:  Continued heavy demand may require the establishment of a cut-off date at some point during the fiscal year.

Second:  Demand during October and the first week of November has already used over 38 percent of the annual limit.  It is hoped that the December retrogressions will return monthly number use within the target range.  If not, further retrogressions cannot be ruled out.

F. 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:November 13, 2007