United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs

VISA BULLETIN

Number 15
Volume VIII
Washington, D.C.

IMMIGRANT NUMBERS FOR FEBRUARY 2000

A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

1. This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during February. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; the Immigration and Naturalization Service reports applicants for adjustment of status. Allocations were made, to the extent possible under the numerical limitations, for the demand received by January 10th 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

First: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second: 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 first preference numbers:

A. Spouses and Children: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

B. Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older): 23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third: Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth: Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES

First: Priority Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

Second: 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 first preference.

Third: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to "Other Workers."

Fourth: Certain Special Immigrants: 7.1% of the worldwide level.

Fifth: 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 prorating 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: 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); "C" means current, i.e., numbers are available for all qualified applicants; and "U" means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available. (NOTE: Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.)

PREFERENCES

            All Charge-
            ability Areas   
            Except Those    
            Listed              INDIA           MEXICO    PHILIPPINES

Family

1st         15OCT98        15OCT98              22OCT93   22MAR88    

2A*         15OCT95        15OCT95              01JUL94   15OCT95    

2B          08DEC92        08DEC92              22AUG91   08DEC92    

3rd         22OCT95        22OCT95              01SEP91   15NOV87

4th         22OCT88        15APR87              22OCT88   15JUL79

*NOTE: For February, 2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 01JUL94. 2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 01JUL94 and earlier than 15OCT95. (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.)

             All Charge-
                  ability Areas 
                  Except Those  
                  Listed             INDIA     MEXICO    PHILIPPINES

Employment-
  Based

1st                    C                C           C           C                  

2nd                    C                C           C           C

3rd                    C                C       C               C

  Other                 01JAN94   01JAN94       01JAN94   01JAN94
        Workers
4th                    C           C        C           C                 

  Certain              C           C        C           C         
    Religious
    Workers

5th                    C       C            C           C                  

  Targeted Employ-     C       C            C           C                  
    ment Areas/
    Regional Centers

The Department of State has available a recorded message with visa availability information which can be heard at (202) 663-1541. This recording will be updated in the middle of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.

B. DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY

Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides a maximum of 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. DV visas are divided among six geographic regions. No one country can receive more than seven percent of the available diversity visas in any one year.

For February, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2000 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:

            All DV Charge-
                 ability Areas
                 Except Those
  Region         Listed Separately

  AFRICA              AF 13,000           Except:  Ghana AF 6,040
                                                                                           Nigeria AF 6,340

  ASIA                AS  5,001    

  EUROPE              EU 14,200       Except    Albania  EU 6,455

  NORTH AMERICA       NA    15
   (BAHAMAS)

  OCEANIA             OC    753

  SOUTH AMERICA,      SA  1,650
    CENTRAL AMERICA,
    and the CARIBBEAN

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 2000 program ends as of September 30, 2000. DV visas may not be issued to DV-2000 applicants after that date. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2000 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2000. DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2000 cannot be taken for granted. Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30. Once all numbers provided by law for the DV-2000 program have been used, no further issuances will be possible.

C. ADVANCE NOTIFICATION OF THE DIVERSITY (DV) IMMIGRANT CATEGORY RANK CUT-OFFS WHICH WILL APPLY IN MARCH AND APRIL FOR THE DV-2000 PROGRAM

For March, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2000 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:

            All DV Charge-
                 ability Areas
                 Except Those
  Region         Listed Separately

  AFRICA              AF 14,801           Except:  Ghana AF 6,040
                                                                                           Nigeria AF 6,770

  ASIA                AS  5,580    

  EUROPE              EU 14,980       Except    Albania  EU 7,772

  NORTH AMERICA       NA    15
   (BAHAMAS)

  OCEANIA             OC    771

  SOUTH AMERICA,      SA  1,650
    CENTRAL AMERICA,
    and the CARIBBEAN

For April, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2000 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:

            All DV Charge-
                 ability Areas
                 Except Those
  Region         Listed Separately

  AFRICA              AF 16,780           Except:  Ghana AF 6,620
                                                                                           Nigeria AF 8,060

  ASIA                AS  6,630    

  EUROPE              EU 16,170       Except    Albania  EU 10,130

  NORTH AMERICA       NA    24
   (BAHAMAS)

  OCEANIA             OC    803

  SOUTH AMERICA,      SA  1,740
    CENTRAL AMERICA,
    and the CARIBBEAN

D. FUTURE VISA AVAILABILITY

Cut-off date movement in most immigrant categories during the past year has been much greater than might ordinarily be expected. Demand of immigrant visa numbers by INS for adjustment of status cases in all categories has begun to increase dramatically during recent weeks. It is still too early to determine whether this will be a continuing pattern or is a temporary situation. Should the current high rate of demand continue, cut-off date movements in some or all categories will necessarily slow or stop. Moreover, in some categories where there have been particularly rapid cut-off date advances, cut-off date retrogression is a definite possibility.

CHINA-mainland born: If visa number use continues at the current heavy level, this chargeability may become oversubscribed as early as March, with visa cut-off dates required for some or all of the Employment-based categories.

INDIA: The INDIA Employment-based Second and Third preference categories are expected to become oversubscribed in March.

E. DISCONTINUANCE OF THE PRINTED MONTHLY VISA BULLETIN AND CURRENT SUBSCRIPTION LIST, AND ESTABLISHMENT OF A NEW E-MAIL SUBSCRIPTION LIST

For over 30 years, the Visa Office has published the Visa Bulletin on a monthly basis. This free bulletin has provided the monthly immigrant visa cut-off dates and other pertinent visa-related information. This Visa Bulletin will be the last printed edition of the bulletin, and the current mailing list will be discontinued. The Visa Office has established a new E-mail subscription list, which will replace the existing printed copy mailing list. This new E-mail service will allow subscribers to receive the Visa Bulletin information about 2 weeks earlier than is possible with the printed version. Interested parties will also be able to obtain the Visa Bulletin through one of the currently available methods outlined in item F. An on-line archive of the Visa Bulletin will be available on the Consular Affairs WEB site.

To be placed on the Department of State's E-mail subscription list for the "Visa Bulletin", please provide your E-mail information to the following E-mail address:

VISABULLETIN@STATE.GOV

F. OBTAINING THE MONTHLY VISA BULLETIN:

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs offers the monthly Visa Bulletin on the INTERNET'S WORLDWIDE WEB. The INTERNET web address to access the Bulletin is:

http://travel.state.gov

From the home page, select the VISA section which contains the Visa Bulletin.

The Department of State also has available a recorded message with visa cut-off dates which can be heard at (202) 663-1541. The recording is normally updated by the middle of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.

The Visa Bulletin can also be contacted by e-mail at the following address:

VISABULLETIN@STATE.GOV

Department of State Publication 9514
CA/VO:January 10, 2000

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