Bloomberg Línea — The US Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for August 2023, providing important information on immigrant visa availability for preference categories. The bulletin outlines the “Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications,” guiding immigrant visa applicants on when to submit required documentation to the National Visa Center.
Understanding Visa Availability
According to the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs’ official website, the Visa Bulletin categorizes immigrant visas into family-sponsored and employment-based preferences. For family-sponsored preferences, four categories are listed:
- F1: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of US Citizens
- F2A: Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents
- F2B: Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents
- F3: Married Sons and Daughters of US Citizens
- F4: Brothers and Sisters of Adult US Citizens
For employment-based preferences, five categories are listed:
- First: Priority Workers
- Second: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability
- Third: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers
- Fourth: Certain Special Immigrants
- Fifth: Employment Creation
Important Changes Affecting Visa Applicants
- Family-Sponsored Categories: The Visa Bulletin establishes final action dates for family-sponsored preference cases, indicating when immigrant visas can be issued. Retrogression has occurred in the F2A category, where the final action date has been set to September 1, 2017. It’s important to note that F2A numbers are exempt from per-country limits for applicants from all countries with priority dates before September 1, 2016.
- Employment-Based Categories: Retrogression has also impacted the Employment-Based First Preference (EB-1) category for India, setting the final action date to January 1, 2012. This change is due to high demand, resulting in the prorating of visas under INA 202(e). The worldwide EB-1 final action date is August 1, 2023, affecting Rest of World countries, Mexico, and the Philippines.
- Diversity (DV) Immigrant Category: The DV category for August allows for up to 54,850 immigrant visas to individuals from countries with low admissions over the past five years. The available DV numbers vary based on geographic regions, with certain countries being excepted from the available diversity visas.
The Department of State will continually monitor visa number use and demand patterns to make necessary adjustments for each category. Retrogressions may occur to manage visa number usage within the fiscal year’s annual limits.
Applicants are encouraged to stay informed about the latest visa processing information at US embassies and consulates by visiting the Bureau of Consular Affairs website at travel.state.gov.
Immigrant visa applicants should closely review the Visa Bulletin to determine the appropriate filing dates and visa availability for their specific preference category and country of chargeability. Additionally, applicants are reminded to check USCIS’s website for updates on whether “Final Action Dates” or “Dates for Filing Applications” charts should be used when filing for adjustment of status with USCIS.
By staying informed and understanding the changes in visa availability, prospective immigrants can better navigate the immigration process and ensure a smoother transition to the United States.