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Visa Bulletin

You may check the latest or archived Visa Bulletins via visiting U.S. Department of State web site.

What is a Visa Bulletin?

The bulletin summarizes the availability of family and employment based immigrant numbers during each month. 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. 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.

What is a Priority Date and Why is it so Important?

Concept of Priority Dates is often confusing and here is an overview of how they work. Priority Dates determine when a foreign national will have the ability to file the final stage of the application for the Lawful Permanent Residency or popularly known as the Adjustment of Status or Form I-485 application. The advantage of filing the I-485 at the earliest opportunity is that it allows the foreign national and any immediate family members the opportunity to file for the EAD or the employment authorization document and Advance Parole. The priority date must also be considered for consular processing (CP) filings.

A priority date, in an employment-based (EB) case requiring Labor Certification (LC), is the officially acknowledged date that the Labor Certification with the Department of Labor. If the EB case was filed in a category that does not require labor certification, then the priority date assigned by USCIS is the date the I-140 (Immigrant Visa Petition) is received by the Service Center.

A person determines when s/he will be able to file for the I-485 by checking the dates each month on the Visa Bulletin chart. Every month, the U.S. Department of State publishes the Visa Bulletin. The Visa Dates indicate whether the dates are current or whether there is a backlog in order to file for the Adjustment of Status or CP.

Please also read FAQ's on Retrogression, Employment Based Visa Numbers, Priority Dates, Quota Backlogs, Cut-Off Dates, Chargeability etc.

Frequently asked questions about Visa Bulletin (click to expand )

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