Visa Bulletin and purpose of cut-off dates

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By Michael Phulwani

This Visa Bulletin allows applicants in the numerically controlled immigrant visa categories to allow the movement of the monthly cut-off dates.  The information is  also available on-line at www.travel.state.gov.  The cut-off dates are used to determine which applicants may be entitled to either:  (1) be scheduled for a formal visa interview if processing their case overseas at an Embassy or Consulate, or (2) file an adjustment of status application if they are already in the United States and eligible to have their case processed at a USCIS Office.

Statutory numbers

1. This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during May. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status.  Allocations were made, to the extent possible under the numerical limitations,  for the demand received by April 9 in the chronological order of the reported priority dates. If the demand could not be satisfied within  the statutory or regulatory limits, 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.  Immediately that it be-comes 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 which has been announced in this bulletin.

2. 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.  The INA prescribes that the per-country limit for preference immigrants is set at 7 percent of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits, i.e., 25,620.  The dependent area limit is set at 2 percent, or 7,320.

3.  The INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of immigrant visas as follows:

Family-sponsored preferences
First:  Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens:  23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second:  Spouses and Child-ren, 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, and any unused first preference numbers:

Third: Spouses and Children:  77 percent of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75 percent are exempt from the per-country limit;

Fourth: Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older):  23 percent of the overall second preference limitation.

Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens:  23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.
Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens:  65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

Employment-based preferences
First:    Priority Workers:  28.6 percent of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

Second:  Members of the Professions Holding Ad-vanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability:  28.6 percent of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.

Fourth:  Certain special immigrants:  7.1 percent of the worldwide level.

Fifth:  Employment creation:  7.1 percent 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 P.L. 102-395.

The cut-off dates for the month of May 2010
Family preferences

F1-Family first preference: Unmarried sons and daughters over the age of 21 years  of US citizens. The cut-off date has moved forward by eight (8) weeks for most of the countries, including India to September 8, 2004.

F2A РFamily second preference: Spouses and minor  children, and unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents. The cut-off date has moved forward by six (6) months for most countries, including India to December 1, 2006.

F2B- Family second preference: Unmarried sons and daughters over 21 of permanent residents. The cut-off date has moved forward   by four (4) months for most of the countries, including India to July 1, 2002.

F3-Family third preference: Married sons and daughters of US citizens and their spouses and children. The cut-off date has moved forward by two (2) weeks for most of the countries, including India at June 8, 2001.

F4-Family fourth preference: Brothers and sisters of US citizens. The cut-off date has moved forward by ten (10) months for most of the countries, including India to May 15, 2000.

Employment preferences

EB1 – Priority workers: The cut-off date for this category for all countries, including India is current.

EB2 – Advanced degree holders: The cut-off date for this category for most countries is current and for India it has not moved at all and remains the same at February 1, 2005.

EB3 – Professional skilled workers: The cut-off date for this category has moved forward by eleven (11) weeks to April 22, 2003 for most of the countries and for India it has moved forward by three (3) weeks to October 1, 2001.

EB3 РOther workers: The cut-off date for this  category has not moved at all and remains the same at June 1, 2001 for most of  the countries,  including India.

EB4 (Certain special immigrants), EB4 (Certain religious workers), EB5 (Tar-geted employment programs) & EB5 (Pilot programs) is current for all countries, including India.

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