American December Visa Bulletin: American Visa Bureau

- Posted in America by Visa Bureauon 09 November 2005

A. Statutory Numbers

1. This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during December. 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 November 9th 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
  • 1st - Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens

    23,400 plus any numbers not required for 4th preference.

  • 2nd - 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 1st preference numbers.

    This category is broken down into:

    • Spouses and Children: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit; and
    • Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older): 23% of the overall second preference limitation.
  • 3rd - Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens

    23,400, plus any numbers not required by 1st and 2nd preferences.

  • Fourth: Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens

    65,000, plus any numbers not required by first 3 preferences.

Employment-based Preferences
  • 1st - Priority Workers

    28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for 4th and 5th preferences.

  • 2nd - 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 1st preference.

  • 3rd - Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers

    28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by 1st and 2nd preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to "Other Workers".

  • Schedule A Workers

    Employment 1st, 2nd, and 3rd preference Schedule A applicants are entitled to up to 50,000 “recaptured” numbers.

  • 4th - Certain Special Immigrants

    7.1% of the worldwide level.

  • 5th - 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 priorating 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); current means numbers are available for all qualified applicants; and unavailable means no numbers are available. NOTE: Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.

Family-based Preference
Chargeability Areas
Family Preferences All Chargeability Areas (except those listed) China (mainland born) India Mexico Philippines
1st 22 April 2001 22 April 2001 22 April 2001 1 June 1994 22 August 1991
2A* 1 January 2002 1 January 2002 1 January 2002 15 December 1998 1 January 2002
2B 8 June 1996 8 June 1996 8 June 1996 1 February 1992 8 June 1996
3rd 8 June 1998 8 June 1998 8 June 1998 1 September 1994 8 February 1991
4th 1 May 1994 1 May 1994 15 November 1993 1 April 1992 1 September 1983

*NOTE: For December, 2A numbers exempt from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 15 December 1998. 2A numbers subject to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries except Mexico with priority dates beginning 15 December 1998 and earlier than 1 January 2002. (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.)

Employment-based Preferences
Chargeability Areas
Employment Preference All Chargeability Areas (except those listed) China (mainland born) India Mexico Philippines
1st Current 1 July 2001 1 February 2003 Current Current
2nd Current 1 February 2001 1 July 2000 Current Current
3rd 15 March 2001 1 January 2001 1 January 1999 1 February 2001 15 March 2001
Schedule A Workers Current Current Current Current Current
Other Workers 1 October 2000 1 October 2000 1 October 2000 1 October 2000 1 October 2000
4th Current Current Current Current Current
Certain Religious Workers Current Current Current Current Current
5th Current Current Current Current Current
Targeted Employment Areas/Regional Centers Current Current Current Current Current

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 (NACARA) 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 NACARA program. This reduction has resulted in the DV-2006 annual limit being reduced to 50,000. Diversity Visas are divided among 6 geographic regions. No one country can receive more than 7% of the available Diversity Visas in any one year.

For December, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2006 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.

Diversity Lottery
Allocation Numbers
Region All DV Chargeability Areas (except those listed separately) Allocation Cut-off Number  
Africa AF 7,500 Except:
  • Ethiopia 6,800
  • Nigeria 5,400
Asia AS 2,500 Except:
  • Bangladesh 2,300
Europe EU 5,500  
North America (Bahamas) NA 5  
Oceania OC 270  
South America and the Caribbean SA 400  

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-2006 program ends as of September 30, 2006. DV visas may not be issued to DV-2006 applicants after that date. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2006 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2006. DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2006 cannot be taken for granted. Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.

C. Advance Notification of the Diversity (DV) Immigrant Category Rank Cut-offs Which Will Apply In January

For January, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2006 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.

Diversity Lottery
Allocation Numbers
Region All DV Chargeability Areas (except those listed separately Allocation Cut-off Number  
Africa AF 9,000 Except:
  • Nigeria 6,400
Asia AS 3,100 Except:
  • Bangladesh 3,025
Europe EU 6,800  
North America (Bahamas) NA 6  
South America and the Caribbean SA 550  

D. Employment Preference Visa Availability

Many of the employment preference cut-off dates have advanced for the month of December. This is being done based on the amount of demand currently being received from Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) for adjustment of status cases, and consideration for CIS’s processing procedures and staffing patterns. Applicant demand for numbers may be expected to increase following rapid advances in the cut-off dates. This could cause cut-off date movement to be sporadic, and eventually slow or stop later in the fiscal year. At this time, it is not possible to predict the rate of movement in future months.