Immigration Lawyer Ari Sauer – The Immigration Answer Man

Memphis immigration lawyer Ari Sauer provides news and information on US immigration law.

JANUARY 2018 DOS VISA BULLETIN

Posted December 19, 2017

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The US Department of State has issued the January 2018 Visa Bulletin. The DOS Visa Bulletin lists visa availability to let foreign nationals know when they can file an Immigrant Visa application (DS-260) or application for Adjustment of Status (I-485) to become a US Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) (commonly known as a green card holder) based upon the immigrant petition filed by their relative, employer, self-petition or under the Diversity (DV) Lottery. The dates listed are the Priority Dates for immigrant petitions (i.e., I-130, I-140, I-360, I-526, etc.) or the DV Lottery selectees’ case numbers. A visa is available if your priority date is earlier than the date listed for your category and country of chargeability, or if your DV Lottery case number is less than the number listed.

Please note that I-130 petitions for Immediate Relatives (spouse, parent, or unmarried child under 21 of a US citizen) and I-360 petitions for abused children or spouses of US citizens are not subject to the Visa Bulletin, as there is currently no limit on visa availability of these categories.

HOW TO READ THE VISA BULLETIN

To read the visa bulletin:

1) first find the appropriate section of the Visa Bulletin. If your petition is a family-based petition (I-130, I-360 for abused child or spouse of Lawful Permanent Resident) then you will be looking at the first two charts, the “Family-Sponsored Preferences” section. If your petition is an Employment Based immigrant petitions (I-140, I-526, I-360 for Religious Workers) or I-360 petitions for certain other categories (for example, Special Immigrant Juvenile) then you will be looking at the 3rd and 4th charts, the “Employment-Based Preferences” section. The remaining two charts are for the Diversity Visa Lottery.

2)  Next, determine which chart you may use within the section. In both the “Family-Sponsored Preferences” section and the “Employment-Based Preferences” section there are two charts, the first that lists the “Final Action Dates” and the second that lists the “Dates For Filing”. The “Final Action Dates” charts list shows which petitions have visas currently available for them.  The “Dates For Filing” chart shows petitions that do not currently have visas available for them, but are sufficiently close to having visas available for them that beneficiaries MIGHT be able to file their I-485 or DS-260 application early in anticipation of a visa becoming available for the petition.

For those who are outside the US, or otherwise not eligible to apply for Adjustment of Status within the US, and will be filing a Form DS-260 Immigrant Visa Application with the DOS National Visa Center, you may use the “Dates for Filing” chart in determining when you will be able to file the DS-260 application.

For those who are within the US and meet all eligibility requirements to file a Form I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status, you will need to consult the USCIS website’s “Adjustment of Status Filing Charts” page, which provides monthly instructions on whether applicants may rely on the “Dated for Filing” chart, or whether they must wait for a visa to become available under the “Final Action Dates” chart.

For the Month of January 2018, USCIS is allowing eligible applicants who are beneficiaries of family-based petitions to use the “Dates for Filing Family-Sponsored Visa Applications” chart. For the Month of January 2018, USCIS is requiring eligible applicants who are beneficiaries of employment-based petitions (including certain I-360 petitions) to use the “Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases” chart.

For the DV Lottery cases, the two charts work differently. The first chart, “Diversity Immigrant Category For The Month of [current month]” lists the DV Lottery rank numbers that currently have a visa available. The second chart “The Diversity (DV) Immigrant Category Rank Cut-Offs Which Will Apply In [upcoming month]” list those DV Lottery rank numbers that are predicted to become available next month. An I-485 or DS-260 application can be filed when the lottery rank number is lower than the lottery rank number listed in the second chart (the listing for the upcoming month). But USCIS or DOS cannot approve the I-485 application or issue the Immigrant Visa until a visa is available as shown on the first chart (the listing for the current month).

3) Locate the appropriate column for your country of chargeability. If your country of chargeability is not listed, that means that you would fall within the All Chargeability category.

The DV lottery charts are is listed in rows by region instead of country, although some countries within a region will be listed separately.

4) For the “Family-Sponsored Preferences” charts and the “Employment-Based Preferences” charts, locate the appropriate row for your petition from the visa preference categories listed on the left (F-1 through F-4 for the Family-Based charts or 1st through 5th for the Employment-Based charts).

5) Compare the priority date listed on the Visa Bulletin to the priority date for your petition. If a “C” is listed, that means that visas are “current”, meaning available, for all petitions in that listing for that month. If a “U” is listed, that means that visas are “unauthorized”, meaning visas are not available for all petitions in that listing for that month.

For the DV Lottery, compare the number listed on the Visa Bulletin to the number listed on your Congratulatory Notice.

The January 2018 Visa Bulletin becomes effective on January 1, 2018. Until then the December 2017 Visa Bulletin remains in effect. If you file an application for adjustment of status (Form I-485) too early, your application will be rejected or denied.

 

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

First: (F1) – Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens

Second (F2A) – Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents

Second (F2B) – Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents

Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens

Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens

A) FINAL ACTION DATES FOR FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCE CASES

Family-
Sponsored 
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-mainland
born
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 
F1 15MAR11 15MAR11 15MAR11 01MAY96 01JAN05
F2A 01FEB16 01FEB16 01FEB16 01JAN16 01FEB16
F2B 01DEC10 01DEC10 01DEC10 15AUG96 01JUL06
F3 08OCT05 08OCT05 08OCT05 15JUN95 15MAR95
F4 22JUN04 22JUN04 15DEC03 01NOV97 01SEP94


B) DATES FOR FILING FAMILY-SPONSORED VISA APPLICATIONS

Family-
Sponsored 
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 
F1 01JAN12 01JAN12 01JAN12 01NOV96 01OCT07
F2A 01NOV16 01NOV16 01NOV16 01NOV16 01NOV16
F2B 01SEP11 01SEP11 01SEP11 01JAN97 01SEP07
F3 01DEC05 01DEC05 01DEC05 01OCT95 15JUN95
F4 15NOV04 15NOV04 22JUN04 08FEB98 01MAR95

 

EMPLOYMENT-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

First (EB-1A, EB-1B, EB-1C):  Priority Workers

Second (EB-2):  Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability

Third (EB-3):  Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers

Fourth (EB-4 and Special Immigrants):  Certain Special Immigrants

Fifth (EB-5):  Employment Creation Investors

A) FINAL ACTION DATES FOR EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CASES

Employment-
based
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
EL SALVADOR
GUATEMALA
HONDURAS
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C C
2nd C 08AUG13 C 22NOV08 C C
3rd C 15APR14 C 01NOV06 C 15FEB16
Other Workers C 22DEC06 C 01NOV06 C 15FEB16
4th C C 01DEC15 C 01JUN16 C
Certain Religious Workers U U U U U U
5th Non-Regional Center
(C5 and T5)
C 22JUL14 C C C C
5th Regional Center
(I5 and R5)
U U U U U U

 

B) DATES FOR FILING OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA APPLICATIONS

Employment-
based
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
EL SALVADOR
GUATEMALA
HONDURAS
INDIA MEXICO  PHILIPPINES 
1st C C C C C C
2nd C 15NOV13 C 08FEB09 C C
3rd C 01SEP15 C 01JAN08 C 01AUG16
Other Workers C 01JUN08 C 01JAN08 C 01AUG16
4th C C 15APR16 C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C 15APR16 C C C
5th Non-Regional Center
(C5 and T5)
C 01OCT14 C C C C
5th Regional Center
(I5 and R5)
C 01OCT14 C C C C

 

 

DIVERSITY VISA LOTTERY

A) DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY

Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except
Those Listed Separately
 
AFRICA 13,000 Except:
Egypt:      8,300
Ethiopia:  9,200
ASIA 3,400 Except:
Iran:        2,800
Nepal:     2,650
EUROPE 8,200  
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 5  
OCEANIA 475  
SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN
500  

 

B) THE DIVERSITY (DV) IMMIGRANT CATEGORY RANK CUT-OFFS WHICH WILL APPLY IN FEBRUARY

Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except
Those Listed Separately
 
AFRICA 14,300 Except:
Egypt:      10,300
Ethiopia:  13,500
ASIA 4,050 Except:
Iran:    3,700
Nepal: 3,225
EUROPE 10,700  
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 6  
OCEANIA 615  
SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN
625

 

By Ari Sauer.

Submit questions to Ari Sauer – The Immigration Answer Man by emailing your question to immigrationanswerman@gmail.com. Questions submitted by email will be posted without personal information unless specifically requested. Due to the volume of questions received, not all questions submitted will be answered. Only general questions can be answered on this blog. For answers to specific questions about your situation, please schedule a consultation appointment with attorney Ari Sauer. Sending in a question by email or any other means does not create an attorney-client relationship.

* This is an advertisement. Ari Sauer is an attorney with the Siskind Susser law firm. www.visalaw.com/ari. On this blog we answer questions as a service to our readers, but we cannot assume any liability related to reliance on anything herein, and responses to questions are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Immigration laws and regulations are constantly changing, and the rules stated may not apply to your situation. Readers are cautioned to schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer before acting on anything stated in this blog. This blog is not intended to substitute for a consultation with a qualified immigration law attorney. Ari Sauer is licensed to practice law through the states of Tennessee, New York and New Jersey but is eligible to assist clients from throughout the US. Certification as an Immigration Specialist is not currently available in Tennessee, New York or New Jersey. Siskind Susser limits its practice strictly to immigration law, a Federal practice area, and we do not claim expertise in the laws of states other than where our attorneys are licensed. the opinions expressed here are those of Ari Sauer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Siskind Susser law firm.

 

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