Visa Bulletin, January, 2020

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.

A.  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 earlier than the final action date listed below.)

Family-
Sponsored 
All Chargeability 
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-mainland 
born
INDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINES 
F115JUL13
15JUL1315JUL1308AUG9715JAN09
F2ACCCCC
F2B08AUG1408AUG1408AUG1422AUG9801FEB09
F315NOV0715NOV0715NOV0701MAR9601JAN99
F401FEB0701FEB0708NOV0408JAN9801MAR99

22MAR05
22MAR05
22DEC10
01FEB16
01FEB16

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 
F115MAR1415MAR1415MAR1415NOV9915SEP09
F2A01NOV1901NOV1901NOV1901NOV1901NOV19
F2B08APR1508APR1508APR1522APR9901OCT09
F315JUL0815JUL0815JUL0815JUL0001SEP99
F422JUL0722JUL0708JUL0501JAN9901NOV99

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 earlier than the final action date listed below.)

Employment-
based
All Chargeability 
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland 
born
EL SALVADOR
GUATEMALA
HONDURAS
INDIAMEXICOPHILIPPINESVIETNAM
1st01OCT1822MAY1701OCT1801JAN1501OCT1801OCT1801OCT18
2ndC01JUL15C18MAY09CCC
3rdC01DEC15C01JAN09C15MAR18C
Other WorkersC01APR08C01JAN09C15MAR18C
4thCC01JUL16C08AUG17CC
Certain Religious WorkersUUUUUUU
5th Non-Regional Center
(C5 and T5)
C22NOV14C01MAY18CC08DEC16
5th Regional Center
(I5 and R5)
UUUUUUU

*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 final action date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002. For Fiscal Year 2020 this reduction will be limited to approximately 350.

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
EL SALVADOR
GUATEMALA
HONDURAS
INDIAMEXICO PHILIPPINES 
1stC01OCT17C15MAR17CC
2ndC01AUG16C01JUL09 CC
3rd01JAN1901MAR1701JAN1901FEB1001JAN1901JAN19
Other Workers01JAN1901AUG0801JAN1901FEB1001JAN1901JAN19
4thCC15AUG16CCC
Certain Religious WorkersCC15AUG16CCC
5th Non-Regional Center
(C5 and T5)
C15MAY15CCCC
5th Regional Center
(I5 and R5)
C15MAY15CCCC

6.  The Department of State has a recorded message with the Final Action date information 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.

SCHEDULED EXPIRATION OF TWO EMPLOYMENT VISA CATEGORIES

Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR):

Pursuant to the continuing resolution signed on November 21, 2019, the non-minister special immigrant program expires on December 20, 2019. No SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after midnight December 19, 2019. Visas issued prior to this date will only be issued with a validity date of December 19, 2019, 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 19, 2019.

The final action date for this category has been listed as “Unavailable” for January. 

If there is legislative action extending this category for FY 2020, the final action date would immediately become “Current” for January for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, which would be subject to a July 1, 2016 final action date, and Mexico, which would be subject to an August 8, 2017 final action date.


Employment Fifth Preference Categories (I5 and R5):

Pursuant to the continuing resolution signed on November 21, 2019, the immigrant investor pilot program is extended until December 20, 2019. The I5 and R5 visas may be issued until close of business on December 20, 2019, 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 20, 2019.

The final action dates for the I5 and R5 categories have been listed as “Unavailable” for January. 

If there is legislative action extending the categories for FY 2020, the final action dates would immediately become “Current” for January for all countries except China-mainland born I5 and R5, which would be subject to a November 22, 2014 final action date; India I5 and R5, which would be subject to a May 1, 2018 final action date; and Vietnam I5 and R5, which would be subject to a December 8, 2016 final action date. 

E.  FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCE VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS

F2A:  In July this category was made “Current” in an effort to generate new demand for use under the annual limit.  Information received during discussions with the National Visa Center indicates that this action has finally begun to have the intended results.  Therefore, it is likely that a final action date will be imposed within the next few months.  This action is unlikely to have any negative impact on those who have already acted on their case in a timely manner prior to the announcement of the January final action dates.

F4:  It had been necessary to advance the “Rest of World” final action date at a very rapid pace in an effort to generate sufficient demand to reach the annual limit throughout the past two fiscal years.  While such movements had produced the desired results with the limit, the level of demand never increased at an equivalent pace.

That pattern has changed in recent months resulting in a dramatic increase in the level of Family-sponsored Fourth preference demand.  This sustained level of demand will require the retrogression of the “Rest of World” final action date, which is likely to occur for February.  Such action would be required in an effort to hold number use within the category’s FY 2020 annual limit.

F.  VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS

FAMILY-sponsored categories (potential monthly movement) 

Worldwide dates:

F1: Up to six weeks 
F2A: Final Action Date established
F2B: Up to three weeks
F3: One to three weeks
F4: Once the retrogression occurs that date is likely to be held for a period of time 

EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement)  

Employment First:

WORLDWIDE: Rapid forward movement expected, potentially becoming Current
China: Up to three weeks
India: Little if any forward movement is expected   

Employment Second:

Worldwide: A date will most likely be imposed at some point during the second half of the fiscal year
China: Up to one month
India: Up to one week       

Employment Third:

Worldwide: A date will most likely be imposed no later than March
China: Up to six weeks 
India: Up to three weeks
Mexico: Will remain at the Worldwide date
Philippines: Up to one month

Employment Third – Other Workers:

Worldwide: A date will most likely be imposed no later than March

Employment Fourth: Current for most countries

El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras:  Little if any movement through May
India: A date will most likely be imposed no later than July
Mexico: Limited forward movement  

Employment Fifth: The category will remain “Current” for most countries 

China: It may be possible to advance the date at a slightly faster pace
India: Likely to advance at a very rapid pace until the level of demand increases
Vietnam: Limited forward movement 
 

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