Visa Bulletin For March 2013

Number 54

Volume IX
Washington, D.C.

A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

1.  This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during March. 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 February 8th. 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 Charge-ability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA- mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 15FEB06 15FEB06 15FEB06 22JUL93 15OCT98
F2A 22NOV10 22NOV10 22NOV10 15NOV10 22NOV10
F2B 01MAR05 01MAR05 01MAR05 15JAN93 08JUN02
F3 15JUL02 15JUL02 15JUL02 15MAR93 15SEP92
F4 22APR01 22APR01 22APR01 15AUG96 15JUL89

*NOTE:  For March, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 15NOV10.  F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 15NOV10 and earlier than 22NOV10.  (All F2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit; there are no F2A numbers for MEXICO subject to per-country limit.)

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.

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 15FEB08 01SEP04 C C
3rd 01MAY07 22JAN07 22NOV02 01MAY07 01SEP06
Other Workers 01MAY07 01JUL03 22NOV02 01MAY07 01SEP06
4th C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
5th
Targeted
Employment Areas/
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

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 March, 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 25,850 Except: Egypt 15,600
Ethiopia 24,400
Nigeria 12,150
ASIA 5,200
EUROPE 16,200 Except:  Uzbekistan 13,400
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 3
OCEANIA 850
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-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.  ADVANCE NOTIFICATION OF THE DIVERSITY (DV) IMMIGRANT CATEGORY RANK CUT-OFFS WHICH WILL APPLY IN APRIL

For April, 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 33,500 Except:  Egypt 19,175
Ethiopia 29,700
Nigeria 14,500
ASIA 6,525
EUROPE 22,850 Except: Uzbekistan 13,400
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 3
OCEANIA 1,000
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN 1,075

D. VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS (April – June)

FAMILY-sponsored categories (potential monthly movement)

Worldwide dates:
F1:  Three or four weeks
F2A: Three to five weeks
F2B: Three to five weeks
F3:  One or two weeks
F4:  Up to two weeks

EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement)

Employment First:  Current

Employment Second:

Worldwide:  Current

China:  Three to six weeks

India:  No movement.  Despite the established cut-off date having been held for the past five months in an effort to keep demand within the average monthly usage targets, the amount of demand being received from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Offices for adjustment of status cases remains extremely high.  Should the current rate of demand continue, it is likely that at some point the cut-off date will need to be retrogressed in an effort to hold demand within the FY-2013 annual limit.

Employment Third:

Worldwide:    Four to six weeks
China:        Two to three months
India:        Up to two weeks
Mexico:       Four to six weeks
Philippines:  Up to one week

Employment Fourth:  Current

Employment Fifth:  Current

Item D of the December 2012 Visa Bulletin alerted readers that a China cut-off date might be imposed at some point during the second half of the fiscal year.  Currently there is no reason to believe that it will be necessary to establish a China Employment Fifth preference category cut-off date during FY-2013, since demand over first six months of FY-2013 has now averaged out to a manageable level.

The above projections for the Family and Employment categories are for what is likely to happen during each of the next few months based on current applicant demand patterns.  Readers should never assume that recent trends in cut-off date movements are guaranteed for the future.  The determination of the actual monthly cut-off dates is subject to fluctuations in applicant demand and a number of other variables which can change at any time.  Those categories with a “Current” projection will remain so for the foreseeable future.

Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C.
2591 Dallas Parkway, #300 FriscoTX75034 USA 
 • (972-233-6200)

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