What is the Visa Bulletin?
The U.S. Department of State (DOS), the agency in charge of visa allocation, has recently released the July 2017 Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant visas during a specific month and includes Final Action Dates and Dates for Filing Applications, indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified by DOS to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center.
What information is contained in the Visa Bulletin?
There are always visas available for immediate relatives (spouses, unmarried minor children, and parents) of U.S. citizens. However, there are numerical and per-country limits for all other immigrant visa applicants, which can result in long visa wait times.
To help these applicants determine the earliest date they can file their immigrant applications, the DOS publishes the Visa Bulletin every month. This bulletin contains charts and information for Family-Based and Employment-Based immigrants.
Things to note when reading the Visa Bulletin
When reading the Visa Bulletin, you will need your Priority Date. A Priority Date is assigned when an immigrant visa application is received by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This date is indicated on the notices from USCIS. You will also need your Immigrant Category (e.g. Brother or Sister of U.S. Citizen), which is also indicated on the USCIS notices.
If you were petitioned by your relative, refer to the Family-Sponsored Preferences section. For employment-based petitions, refer to the Employment-Based Preferences section.
Each section contains charts and information for Final Action Dates and Dates for Filing. The Final Action Dates indicate that applicants with Priority Dates earlier than the date now have immigrant visas available and may now file their application.
The Dates for Filing indicate the earliest date that an applicant may submit their application, following receipt of notification from the National Visa Center (NVC) containing detailed instructions.
If there is a C in place of a date, this means that the category is current and the applicant may now submit their immigrant application to USCIS.
The immigrant visa application is fairly simple in most cases, but it may be complicated for some. If you have additional questions about the visa bulletin or need visa application assistance, please contact us. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Tumblr, for up-to-date immigration news.
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