Like clockwork, the United States Department of State (DOS) puts out a monthly Visa Bulletin, and April is no different. Visa availability fluctuates, and these bulletins highlight the direction that said availability is moving in today’s uncertain immigration climate.
Each month, the Visa Bulletin provides sponsored foreign nationals with an updated schedule related to the final step in the process of obtaining a green card and becoming a permanent immigrant. Permanent immigration to the U.S. is predicated on careful calculations that are determined by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). These calculations guide per-country and per-category visa number limitations.
How It Works
Every immigration case has several important dates attached that guide the availability of the petitioner’s visa, and the monthly Visa Bulletins outline these evolving dates. Every case’s initial eligibility is established by the date it was first filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) – this date is its priority date and it holds the case’s place in the immigration queue. For a case to remain current, the priority date must fall before the final action date that’s posted in the monthly Visa Bulletin.
When the Bulletin lists a visa category as ‘current’ it’s marked with a C, and it means there are enough visa numbers to go around for every approved petitioner in that category for that country of chargeability (country of origin). In other words, if a visa category for a specific country is marked with a C, all qualified applicants within this subset are authorized to be issued visas. When a date is posted, instead of a C, it means the petitioners within that category – to be authorized for visa issuance – must have a priority date that predates the posted final action date.
Employment Visas: April Movement
While April has a few surprises, it remains the seventh month in row in which every country not specifically listed is once again current in every category.
April has several notable exceptions:
China (Mainland Born)
China is no longer current for the EB-1, which is now set at January 1, 2012. The EB-2 advances by another 24 days to August 1, 2014; the EB-3 shoots ahead 5 and a half months to June 1, 2015; and the other workers category gains a month at April 1, 2007. The EB-4 remains current.
Mexico and El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras
Mexico and El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are all, once again, current within all categories – with two minor exceptions. El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras inched ahead 14 days on the EB-4 to December 15, 2015, and Mexico’s EB-4 pushed ahead another 38 days to August 8, 2016.
India sees some significant action in April. The EB-1 went from current to a final action date of January 1, 2012; the EB-2 crawled forward 7 days to December 22, 2008; the EB-3 and the other workers category both rocketed ahead 13 full months to February 1, 2008; and the EB-4 remained current.
The Philippines has two good-sized bumps in April. While the other categories remained current, both the EB-3 and the other workers category cruised forward eight months to January 01, 2017.
April’s visa availability numbers saw some heftier advances than they’ve seen in several months. As the current immigration climate sparks further ambiguity, it’s important to continue to monitor the Visa Bulletins.