What is the Visa Bulletin?
The Visa Bulletin is a monthly publication issued by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) that provides updated information on the availability of immigrant visa numbers for various employment-based (EB) and family-sponsored categories.
The purpose of the bulletin is to inform visa applicants and their sponsors about the current status of visa availability and waiting times.
What is the EB-3 category?
The EB-3 (Employment-Based Third Preference) category is designated for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers.
Skilled workers require at least two years of training or experience,
Professionals must possess a U.S. baccalaureate degree or foreign equivalent,
Other workers include those who perform unskilled labor with less than two years of training or experience.
How is the Visa Bulletin organized?
The Visa Bulletin is organized into charts with columns representing countries or regions and rows representing the different immigrant visa categories.
Each cell contains either a “C” (current) indicating that visas are available for that category and country, or a date that represents the priority date cutoff for that category and country.
What is a priority date?
The priority date is the date when the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives the immigrant visa petition (Form I-140) filed by the employer on behalf of the foreign worker.
The priority date determines the applicant’s place in the queue for visa availability based on their preference category and country of chargeability.
How do I know if my priority date is current?
To check if your priority date is current, locate your preference category and country of chargeability in the Visa Bulletin.
If the cell contains a “C” or a date earlier than your priority date, then your priority date is considered current, and you may proceed with the final steps of the immigration process.
What does “All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed” mean in the Visa Bulletin?
“All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed” refers to all countries and regions that are not specifically listed in the Visa Bulletin chart.
These countries typically have shorter wait times for visa availability and may often have a “C” (current) status for certain categories.
How often is the Visa Bulletin updated?
The Visa Bulletin is updated monthly, typically around the middle of the month.
It’s important to monitor the bulletin regularly as visa availability and priority dates can change with each update.
What happens if my priority date is not current?
If your priority date is not current, you must wait until it becomes current before you can proceed with the final steps of the immigration process.
Keep monitoring the Visa Bulletin to check for updates on your priority date status.
Can the Visa Bulletin retrogress or move backward?
Yes, the Visa Bulletin can retrogress or move backward in some cases.
This occurs when the demand for visas in a particular category and country of chargeability exceeds the supply of available visa numbers.
Retrogression is typically temporary, and the priority dates should advance again in future bulletins.
Where can I find the most recent Visa Bulletin?
The most recent Visa Bulletin can be found on the U.S. Department of State website at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin.html.