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U.S. Visa Law & Policy

Visa Bulletin For September 2013

Number 60
Volume IX
Washington, D.C.

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A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

1.  This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during September. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status. Allocations were made, to the extent possible, in chronological order of reported priority dates, for demand received by August 12th. If not all demand could be satisfied, 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. If 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 announced in this bulletin.

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, INDIA, MEXICO, and PHILIPPINES.

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.

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-
Sponsored
All
Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland born
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 15SEP06 15SEP06  15SEP06 08SEP93 08MAY01
F2A C C C C C
F2B 15FEB06 15FEB06 15FEB06 22FEB94  22JAN03
F3 22JAN03 22JAN03 22JAN03 15MAY93 22DEC92
F4 22JUL01 22JUL01 22JUL01 08OCT96 15FEB90

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".

FourthCertain 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.

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.)

Employment-
Based

All
Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed

CHINA -
mainland born
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C
2nd C 08AUG08 15JUN08 C C
3rd 01JUL10 01JUL10 22SEP03 01JUL10 01DEC06
Other Workers 01JUL10 15JUN04 22SEP03 01JUL10 01DEC06
4th C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C

5th
Targeted
EmploymentAreas/
Regional Centers
and Pilot Programs

C C C C C

*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.

6.  The Department of State has a recorded message with visa availability information which can be heard at:  (202) 663-1541.  This recording is updated on or about the tenth of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.

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

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-2013 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 September, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2013 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  
ASIA CURRENT  
EUROPE CURRENT  
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) CURRENT  
OCEANIA CURRENT  
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN CURRENT  

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-2013 program ends as of September 30, 2013.  DV visas may not be issued to DV-2013 applicants after that date.  Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2013 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2013.  DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2013 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 OCTOBER

For October, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2014 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 7,500 Except:
Egypt:     5,000
Ethiopia:  5,000
Nigeria:    5,500
ASIA 1,800  
EUROPE 8,000  
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 3  
OCEANIA 300  
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN 500  

D.  VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS

FAMILY-sponsored:

F2A: This category was made "Current" in an effort to generate new demand for the upcoming fiscal year. Information received during discussions with the National Visa Center and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services indicates that this action is already having the intended result. Therefore, it is likely that a cut-off will be imposed for October. This cut-off is unlikely to have any negative impact on those who have already initiated action on their case prior to the announcement of the October cut-off dates.

EMPLOYMENT-based:

SECOND:

India: This cut-off date has been advanced significantly more than originally expected, based on the projection that there would be "otherwise unused" numbers under the overall Employment Second preference annual limit. This is the result of a decrease in Employment First preference number use, and a similar decrease in Employment Second preference demand for most other countries during the past two months. It is expected that such movement will generate a very significant amount of new India demand during the coming months.

THIRD:

The Employment-based Third preference cut-off date for most countries was advanced at an extremely rapid pace in April through July in an effort to generate demand. Historically such movements have resulted in a dramatic increase in applicant demand for numbers within a few months. At this time there is no indication that the expected increase is materializing or will do so in the near future. This has resulted in significant movements in the September cut-off for all countries. 

It is unlikely that there will be any forward movement for most Employment-based cut-off dates during the next couple of months. In addition, a sudden surge in demand could require the retrogression of a cut-off date at any time. Such action would be required if it appears that such number use could impact visa availability under the FY-2014 annual limits.

E. DETERMINATION OF THE NUMERICAL LIMITS ON IMMIGRANTS REQUIRED UNDER THE TERMS OF THE IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT (INA)

The State Department is required to make a determination of the worldwide numerical limitations, as outlined in Section 201(c) and (d) of the INA, on an annual basis. These calculations are based in part on data provided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) regarding the number of immediate relative adjustments in the preceding year and the number of aliens paroled into the United States under Section 212(d)(5) in the second preceding year. Without this information, it is impossible to make an official determination of the annual limits. To avoid delays in processing while waiting for the USCIS data, the Visa Office (VO) bases allocations on the minimum annual limits outlined in Section 201 of the INA. On July 25th, USCIS provided the required data to VO.

The Department of State has determined the Family and Employment preference numerical limits for FY-2013 in accordance with the terms of Section 201 of the INA. These numerical limits for FY-2013 are as follows:

Worldwide Family-Sponsored preference limit:        226,000
Worldwide Employment-Based preference limit:      158,466

Under INA Section 202(A), the per-country limit is fixed at 7% of the family and employment annual limits. For FY-2013 the per-country limit is 26,913. The dependent area annual limit is 2%, or 7,689. 

F.  DIVERSITY VISA LOTTERY 2014 (DV-2014) RESULTS

The Kentucky Consular Center in Williamsburg, Kentucky has registered and notified the winners of the DV-2014 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 140,660 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-2014 numbers will be used during fiscal year 2014 (October 1, 2013 until September 30, 2014).

Applicants registered for the DV-2014 program were selected at random from 9,374,191 qualified entries (14,633,767 with derivatives) received during the 30-day application period that ran from noon, Eastern Daylight Time on Tuesday, October 2, 2012, until noon, Eastern Daylight Time on Saturday, November 3, 2012. 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 the Bureau of 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 2014 will end. Selected applicants who do not receive visas by September 30, 2014 will derive no further benefit from their DV-2014 registration. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2014 principal applicants are only entitled to derivative diversity visa status until September 30, 2014.

Dates for the DV-2015 program registration period will be widely publicized in the coming months. Those interested in entering the DV-2015 program should check the Department of State’s Visa web page for more details in September.

*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 chargeability of those registered for the DV-2014 program:

AFRICA
ALGERIA  2,583 GABON  72 RWANDA  477
ANGOLA  84 GAMBIA, THE  67  SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE  0
BENIN  639 GHANA  3,945 SENEGAL  824
BOTSWANA  19 GUINEA  1,759 SEYCHELLES  5
BURKINA FASO  267 GUINEA-BISSAU  14 SIERRA LEONE  2,977
BURUNDI  138 KENYA  4,245 SOMALIA  273
CAMEROON  4,268 LESOTHO  6 SOUTH AFRICA  1,038
CAPE VERDE  33 LIBERIA  3,809 SOUTH SUDAN  18
CENTRAL AFRICAN REP.  45 LIBYA  156 SUDAN  2,281
CHAD  49 MADAGASCAR  50 SWAZILAND  5
COMOROS  5 MALAWI  52 TANZANIA  209
CONGO  236 MALI  176 TOGO  1,481
CONGO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE  6,025 MAURITANIA  21 TUNISIA  159
COTE D’IVOIRE  1,399 MAURITIUS  68 UGANDA  620
DJIBOUTI  75 MOROCCO  2,428 ZAMBIA  117
EGYPT  5,757 MOZAMBIQUE  21 ZIMBABWE  196
EQUATORIAL GUINEA  4 NAMIBIA  12  
ERITREA  837 NIGER  137  
ETHIOPIA  5,718 NIGERIA  6,043  
ASIA
AFGHANISTAN  447 JAPAN  861 QATAR  43
BAHRAIN  27 JORDAN 581 SAUDI ARABIA 467
BHUTAN 21 NORTH KOREA  3 SINGAPORE  119
BRUNEI  3  KUWAIT  275 SRI LANKA  1,616
BURMA  696 LAOS  9 SYRIA  493
CAMBODIA  1,892 LEBANON  396 TAIWAN  723
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMIN. REGION  159 MALAYSIA  167 THAILAND  131
INDONESIA  379 MALDIVES  4 TIMOR-LESTE  0
IRAN  6,027 MONGOLIA  224 UNITED ARAB EMIRATES  167
IRAQ  384 NEPAL 6,082 YEMEN  532
ISRAEL  330 OMAN  12  
EUROPE
ALBANIA  3,289 GERMANY  1,696 NORTHERN IRELAND  37
ANDORRA  2 GREECE  230 NORWAY  63
ARMENIA  2,221 HUNGARY  363 POLAND  1,552
AUSTRIA  150 ICELAND  49 PORTUGAL  124
AZERBAIJAN  494 IRELAND  175     Macau  12
BELARUS  1,873 ITALY  787 ROMANIA  1,245
BELGIUM  120 KAZAKHSTAN  784 RUSSIA  4,544
BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA 153 KOSOVO  257 SAN MARINO  1
BULGARIA  1,957 KYRGYZSTAN  537 SERBIA  582
CROATIA  125 LATVIA  147 SLOVAKIA  115
CYPRUS  24 LIECHTENSTEIN  1 SLOVENIA  14
CZECH REPUBLIC  133 LITHUANIA  385 SPAIN  485
DENMARK  103 LUXEMBOURG  13    Western Sahara   1
    Greenland  1 MACEDONIA  421 SWEDEN  225
ESTONIA  75 MALTA  6 SWITZERLAND  224
FINLAND  111 MOLDOVA  2,903 TAJIKISTAN  531
FRANCE  958 MONACO  2 TURKEY  3,972
    French Polynesia  8 MONTENEGRO  20 TURKMENISTAN  216
    French Southern and Antarctic Territories  4 NETHERLANDS  225 UKRAINE  6,009
    New Caledonia  1     Aruba  6 UZBEKISTAN  5,014
    Saint Martin  2     Curacao  4 VATICAN CITY  0
GEORGIA  806     Sint Maarten  2  
NORTH AMERICA
BAHAMAS, THE  23    
OCEANIA
AUSTRALIA  2,104 NAURU  12 SAMOA  43
    Cocos Islands  1 NEW ZEALAND  674 SOLOMON ISLANDS  3
    Norfolk Island  2     Cook Islands  4 TONGA  105
FIJI  1,174     Niue  25 TUVALU  1
KIRIBATI  6     Tokelau  3 VANUATU  17
MARSHALL ISLANDS  2 PALAU  0  
MICRONESIA, FEDERATED STATES OF  5 PAPUA NEW GUINEA  34  
SOUTH AMERICA, CENTRAL AMERICA, AND THE CARIBBEAN
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA  11 DOMINICA  22 SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS  15
ARGENTINA  218 GRENADA  31 SAINT LUCIA  42
BARBADOS  34 GUATEMALA  225 SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES  13
BELIZE  18 GUYANA  50 SURINAME  27
BOLIVIA  145 HONDURAS  121 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO  246
CHILE  50 NICARAGUA  78 URUGUAY  41
COSTA RICA  101 PANAMA  22 VENEZUELA  1,905
CUBA  1,178 PARAGUAY  27  

Natives of the following countries were not eligible to participate in DV-2014:
Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born, excluding Hong Kong S.A.R., Macau S.A.R., and Taiwan), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

G.  OBTAINING THE MONTHLY VISA BULLETIN

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs publishes the monthly Visa Bulletin on their website under the Visas section. Alternatively, visitors may access the Visa Bulletin directly by going to:

http://travel.state.gov/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin.html

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 
(example: Subscribe Visa-Bulletin)

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: (202) 663-1541. The recording is normally updated on/about the 10th 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:   August 12, 2013