How to read the Visa Bulletin: it can find the dates for the issuance of family and work visas, as well as won green cards
Immigration policy functions through rules, patterns, and forecasts. You can see the most important of them in the monthly visa bulletin (Visa Bulletin) State Department. How to read it so as to understand the immigration situation in the United States, the publication explained Forbes.
Each year, the US government issues a certain statutory number of green cards and immigrant visas (work and family). At the same time, additional visas can be issued annually - in the event that they remain unused from the previous year. Visa Bulletin is designed to record visas - it helps potential immigrants navigate the current situation, visa waiting times, etc.
In addition, the bulletin helps you understand when it is best to apply for a particular visa and when it can be approved.
“The State Department's Visa Section publishes the Visa Bulletin, a monthly periodical that summarizes the past month and forecasts for visa availability for the coming month,” Charlie Oppenheim explained. For 23 years, until retiring in December 2022, Charlie Oppenheim was Chief of Immigration Visa Enforcement and Reporting at the US State Department and directed the monthly publication of the Visa Bulletin.
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The Visa Bulletin may also contain other information. For example, forecasts for the availability of visas for the coming months; problems that may affect the processing of visa applications; policy changes, etc.
The visa bulletin contains at least two tables showing the availability of visas for a particular month.
Chart A - Final Action Dates
Chart A presents Final Action Dates. They determine the potential queue for this month's immigration cases. This table refers solely to the visa limit, and not to delays in processing applications due to the workload of the immigration service. There are three important parameters to pay attention to:
1) Final Action Dates. If there is a queue for the category of visas you are interested in (due to the limit), then you need to look at this table. In it, the applicant can see when his turn will come. The table shows the applications, on what dates they were submitted, whether they are at the final stage.
For example, below is a screenshot from a table with Final Action Dates for family visas in June 2023. It follows that if you applied for a visa in the F1 category before December 15, 2014, then in June 2023 it is time for you to receive this visa (you waited in line).
2) If there is no date in the table, but "C" (Current, i.e. current) is indicated, this means that the number of visa applicants is less than the number of visas available for use in that particular month.
For example, in June there are 500 category 350 work visas available for use, but there are only XNUMX applicants for it. Then they put “C” in front of the visa, and this means that you do not need to wait in line.
3) If the date is "U" (unauthorized, i.e. "not available"), this means that for this category of visas either the annual limit has already been reached, or it is expected to be reached by the beginning of the month.
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Chart B - Application Filing Dates
Chart B represents dates filing applications to the green card through status adjustment. Filing Dates in the Visa Bulletin show the earliest date an applicant can apply for the last step of the green card process through status adjustment. You do not need to keep a close eye on the bulletin - the Immigration Service will send a notification when this date arrives. But still, in the bulletin, you can see the trend and understand what to expect.
Application Filing Dates cannot be earlier than Final Action Dates.
This item can also be marked "C" and "U" (Current and Unauthorized).
Green Card Lottery
The newsletter may be of interest to green card lottery winners as it reflects the situation around upcoming interview appointments. For example, let's consider June 2023 bulletin - it reflects the possible appointments of interviews for the issuance of green cards for DV-2023, scheduled for July 2023 of the year. Notifications about such interviews are usually sent out a month and a half in advance, but in the visa bulletin you can see the pattern and estimate when the date for your interview comes.
The table above shows the so-called cut-offs (top case bar) for each region (and sometimes countries within a region). These numbers mean that all applicants whose DS-260 applications have already been processed (a request for scans has been received and KCC has confirmed their processing) and whose case numbers below figures given in the newsletter are likely to be invited for interviews this month. However, this is not necessary, since a queue may form among such applicants at the embassy.
If it says Current (C) at the cut-off place, this means that absolutely all cases in this region were admitted to the interview, that is, there were enough visas for everyone, all that remains is to wait for the processing of your form (in this case, the date of submission of the DS-form is crucial 260 and scan processing).
Let's look at this with a specific example. Let's say you are from the European area (EU), your case 26 200, you sent your DS-260 a long time ago. It has been processed and you are waiting for an interview appointment.
We remind you that the June visa bulletin reflects data on July. And it says that in Europe the cut-off reaches 32 (except for Russia and Uzbekistan - they have their own numbers). That is, if you are from the European region, but not from these countries, then in July you will most likely be invited for an interview.
Of course, this is not a XNUMX% chance, since at a particular embassy there may be a queue for interviews among already processed applications, however, practice shows that if your case number got into the cut-off, then there is not long to wait.
You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants, and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read all this on ForumDaily New York.
Regression in Visa Bulletin
A regression is when the Final Action Date listed in the Visa Bulletin for the upcoming month (eg July) is earlier than this date listed for the current month (eg June). Immigration authorities do so in order to restrict the issuance of a certain category of visa. This is most often done towards the end of the financial year to keep the number of visas within the annual limit.
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