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VISA

Visa Bulletin-December 2016

Published

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 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 earlierthan the final action date listed below.)

Family-
Sponsored 
All Chargeability 
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-mainland 
born
INDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES 
F101DEC0901DEC0901DEC0915APR95 15SEP05
F2A22FEB1522FEB1522FEB1515FEB1522FEB15
F2B08MAY1008MAY1008MAY10 15OCT9501MAR06
F315FEB0515FEB0515FEB0508DEC9415AUG94
F422DEC0301OCT0301APR0315MAY9722MAY93

*NOTE: For December, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 15FEB15. F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 15FEB15 and earlier than 22FEB15. 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
INDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES 
F101JAN1101JAN1101JAN1101JUN9501MAY06
F2A22NOV1522NOV1522NOV15 22NOV15 22NOV15
F2B08FEB1108FEB1108FEB1101JUN9601FEB07
F322AUG0522AUG0522AUG0501MAY9501JAN95
F401JUL0401JUL0401MAY0401DEC9701APR94

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 earlierthan the final action date listed below.)

Employ-
ment
based
All Charge-
ability 
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland 
born
EL SALVADOR
GUATEMALA
HONDURAS
INDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES
1stCCCCCC
2ndC22SEP12C01FEB08CC
3rd01JUL16 01JUL1301JUL1615MAR05 01JUL16 01JUN11
Other Workers01JUL1601NOV0501JUL1615MAR0501JUL1601JUN11
4thCC15JUL15C15JUL15C
Certain Religious WorkersCC15JUL15C15JUL15C
5th
Non-Regional
Center
(C5 and T5)
C22MAR14CCCC
5th
Regional
Center
(I5 and R5)
C22MAR14CCCC

*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
INDIAMEXICO PHILIPPINES 
1stCCCCC
2ndC01MAR1322APR09 CC
3rdC01MAY1401JUL05C01SEP13
Other WorkersC01AUG0901JUL05C01SEP13
4thCCCCC
Certain Religious WorkersCCCCC
5th
Non-Regional
Center
(C5 and T5)
C15JUN14CCC
5th
Regional
Center
(I5 and R5)
C15JUN14CCC

6.  The Department of State has a recorded message with the cut-off date information for Final Application Action 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.

OVERSUBSCRIPTION OF THE MEXICO EMPLOYMENT-BASED
     FOURTH (E4) AND CERTAIN RELIGIOUS WORKERS (SR) 
     PREFERENCE CATEGORIES

There continues to be high demand in the E4 and SR categories, primarily for Juvenile Court Dependent cases filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for adjustment of status. Therefore, it has been necessary to impose Mexico E4 and SR Final Action Dates in an attempt to hold number use within the maximum allowed under the FY-2017 annual limits.

E.  SCHEDULED EXPIRATION OF TWO EMPLOYMENT VISA
     CATEGORIES

Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR):

Pursuant to the 10-week continuing resolution signed on September 29, 2016, the non-minister special immigrant program expires on December 9, 2016. No SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after midnight December 8, 2016. Visas issued prior to this date will only be issued with a validity date of December 8, 2016, and all individuals seeking admission as a non-minister special immigrant must be admitted (repeat, admitted) into the U.S.  no later than midnight December 8, 2016.

The final action date for this category has been listed as “Current” for December for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, which are subject to a July 15, 2015 final action date for December. If there is no legislative action extending this category for FY-2017, the final action date would immediately become “Unavailable” for December for all countries effective December 10, 2016.  

Employment Fifth Preference Categories (I5 and R5):

The 10-week continuing resolution signed on September 29, 2016 extended this immigrant investor pilot program until December 9, 2016. The I5 and R5 visas may be issued until close of business on December 9, 2016, and may be issued for the full validity period. No I5 or R5 visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after December 9, 2016.

The final action dates for the I5 and R5 categories have been listed as “Current” for December for all countries except China-mainland born, which is subject to a March 22, 2014 final action date. If there is no legislative action extending them for FY-2017, the final action dates would immediately become “Unavailable” for December for all countries effective December 10, 2016.

F.  EMPLOYMENT-based VISA AVAILABILITY

The level of demand in many Employment-based categories for cases filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for adjustment of status increased significantly late last winter.  Those levels have been sustained, and at this time there are no signs that demand is diminishing. The following updates to previous projections regarding visa availability are being announced in an effort to provide the maximum amount of advance notice:  

First:  Current during the coming months.  However, it will be necessary to impose a Final Action Date for China-mainland born and India at some point.

Second:  Current for the foreseeable future.  But, based on the current demand pattern it appears likely that it will be necessary to impose a Worldwide, Mexico, and Philippines Final Action Date no later than July.

Third:  The level of demand appears to be increasing at the long-anticipated rate.  Therefore, this date has been held for December, and is likely to hold once again for January, while determining if this increased level will be sustained.

-  INDIA Third: Movement of this date will be limited to one week, then the date will hold for several months, then move one week, then likely to hold.  

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