September 2017 Visa Bulletin Commentary

The September 2017 Visa Bulletin was recently released. Most notably, F1 and F4 retrogressed for all countries except Mexico and the Philippines to May 1, 2010 and January 1, 2002 respectively. These categories will become current again on October 1, 2017. Additionally, there was forward movement in some of the employment-based categories that previously retrogressed.

Please also note that for the past three months USCIS has issued releases about 1 week after the release of the Visa Bulletin stating that the final action date should be used for filing family-sponsored and employment-based petitions rather than the filing date listed on the Visa Bulletin.

September 2017

For all countries except India, China, Philippines, and Mexico: F2A category priority date advances 9 days to 1 October 2015, F2B preference remains at a PD of 1 November 2010, F4 category retrogresses 858 days to 1 January 2002 PD; EB 1 is current; EB2 advances 275 days to a priority date of 1 January 2016, and EB3 is current.

For India only:  F2A category advances 9 days with the priority date 1 October 2015, F2B preference remains at a PD of 1 November 2010, F4 retrogresses 629 days to a PD of 1 January 2002; EB1 stays at 1 January 2012, EB2 advances 31 days to a PD of 22 August 2008, EB3 advances 92 days to a PD of 15 October 2006.

For China Only: EB1 remains at 1 January 2012; EB2 advances 23 days to 15 May 2013; EB3 remains at 1 January 2012; Non-Regional Center and Regional Center remains at a PD of 15 June 2014.

Can file your immigrant applications if PD before:

F2A 8 April 2016; F2B 1 September 2011; F4 15 November 2004 for All Areas except India, China, Philippines, and Mexico and 22 June 2004 for India

EB1 is current for all countries; EB2 and 3 All Countries except India, China, and the Philippines are current; EB2 India remains at 1 February 2009; EB3 India remains at 1 January 2007 EB2 China remains at 1 October 2013; EB3 China remains at 1 September 2015; EB5 China (RC and non-RC) remains at 1 September 2014

*If you have any questions or comments, you are welcome to get in touch with us. Please email us at info@watsonimmigrationlaw.com 

**Copyright 2017 by Watson Immigration Law. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Notes copied from the Department of State regarding Visa availability:

D.  RETROGRESSION OF FAMILY PREFERENCE FINAL ACTION DATES

Family First Preference (F1):  Worldwide, China, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, and Honduras:  The continued high level of demand for F1 preference numbers has required the retrogression of the final action date for the month of September.  This action has been taken in an attempt to hold number use within the Worldwide F1 annual limit.  The final action date for these countries will return to December 22, 2010 for October, the first month of fiscal year 2018.

Family Fourth Preference (F4):  Worldwide, China, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, and Honduras:  The continued high level of demand for F4 preference numbers has required the retrogression of the final action date for the month of September.  This action has been taken in an attempt to hold number use within the Worldwide F4 annual limit.  When the final action dates for these countries are announced for October, the first month of fiscal year 2018, they will be returned to the final action dates which had been established for August.

Please Note:  Applicants entitled to immigrant status become documentarily qualified at their own initiative and convenience. By no means has every applicant with a priority date earlier than a prevailing final action date been processed for final visa action.  On the contrary, visa allotments are made only on the basis of the total applicants reported documentarily qualified each month, compared with the amount of available numbers.  For example, during the past month, over 12,000 applicants who became documentarily qualified in the Family preference categories have priority dates earlier than the final action dates established for August.  Such demand for visa numbers can fluctuate from month to month, with the inevitable impact on final action dates.

E.  DETERMINATION OF THE NUMERICAL LIMITS ON IMMIGRANTS REQUIRED UNDER THE TERMS OF THE IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT (INA)

The State Department is required to make a determination of the worldwide numerical limitations, as outlined in Section 201(c) and (d) of the INA, on an annual basis.  These calculations are based in part on data provided by U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) regarding the number of immediate relative adjustments in the preceding year and the number of aliens paroled into the United States under Section 212(d)(5) in the second preceding year.  Without this information, it is impossible to make an official determination of the annual limits.  To avoid delays in processing while waiting for the USCIS data, the Visa Office (VO) bases allocations on the minimum annual limits outlined in Section 201 of the INA. On July 31st, USCIS provided the required data to VO.

The Department of State has determined the Family and Employment preference numerical limits for FY-2017 in accordance with the terms of Section 201 of the INA.  These numerical limitations for FY-2017 are as follows:

Worldwide Family-Sponsored preference limit:    226,000
Worldwide Employment-Based preference limit:  140,000

Under INA Section 202(a), the per-country limit is fixed at 7% of the family and employment annual limits.  For FY-2017 the per-country limit is 25,620.  The dependent area annual limit is 2%, or 7,320.

F.  REPORTING CHANGES OF ADDRESS FOR CASES BEING PROCESSED OVERSEAS

All readers should be aware that any change of address for applicants processing their case overseas should always be reported to the National Visa Center (NVC). For faster processing, please provide an email address where NVC can contact you about your case. It is essential that NVC have the correct address so they can send information regarding the processing of the case to the applicant.

When contacting NVC directly about an immigrant visa petition, alwaysinclude the following information:

  • NVC case number or USCIS receipt number
  • Principal applicant’s name
  • Principal applicant’s date of birth
  • Petitioner’s name

Email (Preferred)

Email is NVC’s preferred method of communication. You may email questions to NVC by using the online Public Inquiry Form located at: https://nvc.state.gov/ask

Telephone

(603) 334-0700. Customer Service Representatives can speak with you Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to Midnight (Eastern Time), excluding holidays.

Postal Mail

You can mail NVC letters to the following address:

National Visa Center
Attn: WC
31 Rochester Avenue, Suite 200
Portsmouth, NH  03801-2915