IMMIGRANT VISA NUMBERS ("Priority Dates") FOR AUGUST 2001

A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

1. This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during August. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; the Immigration and Naturalization Service reports applicants for adjustment of status. Allocations were made, to the extent possible under the numerical limitations, for the demand received by July 10th 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 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.

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. Section 203 of 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 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, and any unused first preference numbers:

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

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

Third: Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth: 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% 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 P.L. 102-395.

4. 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.

5. 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.)

Priority Dates for Family Based Immigrant Visas
 

All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed

CHINA - mainland-born

INDIA

MEXICO

PHILIPPINES

Family

         

1st

U

U

U

U

U

2A*

01JAN95

01JAN95

01JAN95

U

01JAN95

2B

01JAN93

01JAN93

01JAN93

U

01JAN93

3rd

U

U

U

U

U

4th

01JUL89

01JUL89

01JUN88

01JUL89

15SEP79

*NOTE: For August, 2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available. 2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates earlier than 01JAN95. (All 2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit; there are no 2A numbers for MEXICO subject to per-country limit.)

Priority Dates for Employment-Based Immigrant Visas
 

All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed

CHINA - mainland-born

INDIA

MEXICO

PHILIPPINES

Employment-Based          

1st

C

C

C

C

C

2nd

C

C

C

C

C

3rd

C

C

C

C

C

Other Workers

C

C

C

C

C

4th

C

C

C

C

C

Certain Religious Workers

C

C

C

C

C

5th

C

C

C

C

C

Targeted Employment Areas/Regional Centers

C

C

C

C

C

The Department of State has available a recorded message with visa availability information which can be heard at (202) 663-1541. This recording will be updated in the middle of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.

B. DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY

Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides a maximum of up to 55,000 immigrant visas each fiscal year to permit immigration opportunities for persons from countries other than the principal sources of current immigration to the United States. The Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NCARA) passed by Congress in November 1997 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 NCARA program. This reduction has resulted in the DV-2001 annual limit being reduced 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 August, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2001 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:

All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately

Region

AFRICA: AF 29,150, Except: Ethiopia AF24,100
ASIA: AS 13,800
EUROPE: EU 28,000, Except: Albania EU 14,000
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS): NA 18
OCEANIA: OC 1,000
SOUTH AMERICA, CENTRAL AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN: SA 2,500

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-2001 program ends as of September 30, 2001. DV visas may not be issued to DV-2001 applicants after that date. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2001 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2001. DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2001 cannot be taken for granted. Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30. Once all numbers provided by law for the DV-2001 program have been used, no further issuances will be possible.

C. ADVANCE NOTIFICATION OF THE DIVERSITY (DV) IMMIGRANT CATEGORY RANK CUT-OFFS WHICH WILL APPLY IN SEPTEMBER

For September, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2001 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:

All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately

Region

AFRICA: AF CURRENT
ASIA: AS CURRENT
EUROPE: EU CURRENT Except: Albania EU 15,482
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS): NA CURRENT
OCEANIA: OC CURRENT
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN: SA CURRENT

D. RETROGRESSION AND UNAVAILABILITY OF FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCE
CUT-OFF DATES

As many readers have already noticed, all of the Employment-based IV categories have became "current" while all of the Family-sponsored categories have either retrogressed or become "unavailable".

The retrogression and unavailability in the Family cut-off dates is the result of extremely heavy Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) demand for numbers throughout the past year. For several years, INS demand for Family and Employment numbers was reduced as they focused heavily on processing naturalization cases rather than adjustment cases. The Visa Office was thus forced to advance the cut-off dates very rapidly in order to ensure that all of the numbers available during those years could be used. Once INS began requesting more such numbers for the eligible cases, the scenario changed. The Visa Office has been unable to advance the monthly Family cut-off dates because the amount of demand being received on a monthly basis has exceeded the amount of numbers available for visa issuance and adjustment of status.

We are so close to reaching the FY-2001 numerical limits in the Family-sponsored categories that retrogression of the cut-off dates and unavailability of several categories is the only way to keep visa number use within the limits. Current indications are that additional retrogressions or unavailability are likely for September, the final month of FY-2001. With the start of the new fiscal year in October, any cut-off date that has retrogressed or become unavailable will return to the latest cut-off date established during FY-2001.

Note that the Employment-based categories are "current" and are expected to remain "current" in the foreseeable future for the following reasons: 1) the FY-2001 Employment annual limit is at an all time high (approximately 190,000); 2) the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act removed the per-country limit if there were otherwise unused numbers available, and 3) this Act also established a "pool" of (approximately 130,000) unused Employment-based numbers from FY-1999 and FY-2000 that could be used if the annual Employment numerical limit is reached.

F. OBTAINING THE MONTHLY VISA BULLETIN

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs offers the monthly Visa Bulletin on the Internet's Worldwide Web. The Internet Web page address to access the Bulletin is:

http://travel.state.gov

From the home page, select the VISA section that contains the Visa Bulletin.

Individuals may also obtain the Visa Bulletin by fax. From a fax phone, dial (202) 647-3000. Follow the prompts and enter in the code 1522 to have each Bulletin faxed.

To be placed on the Department of State’s e-mail subscription list for the Visa Bulletin, please provide your e-mail information to the following e-mail address:

VISABULLETIN@STATE.GOV

The Department of State also has available a recorded message with visa cut-off dates which can be heard at (202) 663-1541. The recording is normally updated by the middle of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.

The Visa Bulletin can also be contacted by e-mail at the following address:

VISABULLETIN@STATE.GOV

Department of State Publication 9514
CA/VO: July 10, 2001