The visa bulletin is a document published each month by the U.S. Department of State. The visa bulletin provides estimates of how long an immigrant should expect to wait for a green card at the current rate of processing. The wait time for a green card is determined by the number of people applying, as well as the number of green cards that are available.
Some categories of immigrants, such as the spouses of U.S. citizens, do not have any quotas, and therefore will not be subject to any wait time. However, many types of visas have limits on how many can be given out each year. If the number of applicants exceeds the number of available visas, then the remaining applicants join a queue to wait until more visas become available. At this point, the applicant will be given a “priority date.” A priority date is an estimate of when the applicant can expect to get a visa based on the rate of processing and how many people are ahead of them in the queue.
The visa bulletin is published monthly, usually in the second or third week of the month.
The upcoming visa bulletin is simply the following month’s visa bulletin that is due to come out next. The Department of State lists the upcoming visa bulletin on its website, but with no further information available beyond a banner announcing that it is coming soon.
The visa bulletin is updated once a month.
A cut-off date is the current priority date on the visa bulletin, meaning applications from these priority dates are ready to be processed.
NVC is the National Visa Center. After your immigrant visa petition has been approved by USCIS, it is sent to the NVC. Because there are yearly limits on family-based and employment-based immigration categories, you may have to wait for some time before your adjustment of status application is ready to be processed. You join a queue based on the date USCIS received your application. This date is your priority date. You can find your priority date on Form I-797, Notice of Action. When the dates in the visa bulletin catch up to your priority date, your visa or adjustment of status will begin processing.
There are four basic preference categories on family-based green cards — those available for spouses, parents, children, and other immediate family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
There are caps on how many green cards can go to each of these categories every year. F1 allots 23,400 immigrant visas; F2 gets 114,000; F3 gets 23,400; and F4 gets 65,000. If any visa allotments are not used up, then the remainder can go to the next preference category. In addition, F2 is broken down into two subcategories. F2A, spouses and minor children, are allotted 77% of F2’s total limit, and 75% are exempt from the per-country limit. F2B gets the remaining 23% of F2’s total visa cap. For this reason, F2A is generally the fastest “line” to be in, due to the fact that it gets the largest number of available visas and that most in this subcategory are exempt from the country cap.
The final action dates chart lists which priority dates have reached the front of the queue and are ready to begin the approval process.
As soon as your priority date matches the cut-off date on the visa bulletin, you are ready to send in your application for your adjustment of status with USCIS.
Sometimes the cut-off date will move backward instead of forward. This is called retrogression, and it happens when more visas are applied for than are available in a particular month. Retrogression usually happens near the end of the fiscal year on September 30, when annual limits are close to running out.
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Caring and compassionate, Saman Movassaghi Gonzalez is a Florida immigration attorney dedicated to producing the results her clients need. She has over 17 years of experience helping both corporate and individual clients with an emphasis in employment/investment cases and family adjustment cases.
As the Managing Attorney at Florida Immigration Law Counsel, Saman Movassaghi Gonzalez and her team are capable of representing and helping individuals looking to attain a Family Visa, Work Visa, and Citizenship/Naturalization. Her experience successfully representing clients in front of the Department of Justice for cases involving Deportation/Removal Proceedings will lead to success in your case.
Her experience and expertise in immigration litigation has led to multiple Avvo awards and other accolades, including the Clients’ Choice for 2017 Immigration Attorney. Her clients also consistently post positive reviews on her Facebook page. Her experience has also allowed her to teach a new generation of lawyers as an adjunct professor of law at Nova Southeastern University, and she also regularly gives speeches on immigration matters.
Counselor Gonzalez is also experienced in helping corporate clients through the process of filing for Employment Visas, Labor Certifications, and Business and Investment Visas with the Department of Labor. She takes on the entire case from start to finish, simplifying the process for her clients and allowing them to focus on their business.
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Saman’s passion for immigration law stems from her personal life as the daughter of immigrants. Her parents were recipients of the student F1 visa in 1971. Her father came into this country with the goal to improve his life and the life of his children. He earned a PhD in Civil Engineering and Business, instilling in his daughter a strong work ethic that she carries to this day. Saman saw firsthand what it means to be an immigrant and achieve the American Dream.
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