When Immigration Matters

What is the EB5 Visa?

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Mon, Jul 03, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

Managing Partner Page image (1).jpgInvestment - Business Background. Golden Compass Needle on a Black Field Pointing to the Word "Investment". 3D Render.-633865-edited.jpegInvestment - Business Background. Golden Compass Needle on a Black Field Pointing to the Word "Investment". 3D Render.-633865-edited.jpegInvestment - Business Background. Golden Compass Needle on a Black Field Pointing to the Word "Investment". 3D Render.-633865-edited.jpegThe EB5 visa was launched by Congress in 1990 and is administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The fundamental purpose of the program is to stimulate economic activity, capital investment and job creation through investments by foreign investors who want to live in the U.S.  

Qualifying for an EB5 Visa
A foreign investor may potentially qualify for an EB5 visa in three different ways:
  • Investing $1,000,000 and hiring 10 full-time employees anywhere in the U.S.
  • Investing $500,000 and hiring 10 full-time employees in a high unemployment area or a rural area.
  • Investing either $1,000,000 or $500,000 (if the investment is made in a high unemployment area or rural area) in a designated Regional Center, and creating 10 full-time indirect or induced jobs.

Investment Requirements

All EB5 investors must invest in what USCIS designates as a new commercial enterprise. This is a business that meets either of the following requirements:

  • It was established on or before November 29, 1990, and the investment will fund restructuring and/or reorganizing such that the enterprise effectively becomes new again; or the investment will result in at least a 40 percent increase in the business’s net worth or employee headcount.
  • It was established on or after November 30, 1990.

The investment itself does not necessarily have to be in cash. It can partly or wholly take the form of inventory, equipment, tangible property, cash equivalents or secured indebtedness.  

Job Creation Requirements

As noted, job creation is one of the pillars of the EB5 visa program. Foreign investors who invest $1,000,000 must create 10 full-time positions anywhere in the U.S. Those who make their investment in a high unemployment area or a rural area (which USCIS refers to as a Targeted Employment Area or TEA) can reduce their commitment to $500,000.

A high unemployment area is defined as one where the unemployment rate is at least 150% that of the national average. A rural area is defined as an area that is outside a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) and has a population of less than 20,000 (based on the most recent census data).

Foreign investors who allocate their $1,000,000 or $500,000 investment to a USCIS-approved Regional Center do not have to create 10 full-time jobs. Instead, they must prove that their investment creates (at least) 10 indirect jobs or 10 induced jobs.

Indirect jobs are defined as jobs within the community that are created to provide goods or services to the Regional Center project. Induced jobs are defined as jobs within the community that are or will be created as a result of income spent by employees working on the Regional Center project.  

Investing in Troubled Businesses

In some cases, a foreign investor may also be allowed to invest in what USCIS deems a “troubled business,” and satisfy the job creation requirements by preventing job loss (i.e. maintaining 10 full time jobs that would otherwise be in jeopardy of being eliminated). A troubled business meets all of the following requirements:

  • The business has been operating for at least 24 months.
  • The business has experienced a net loss in the 12 or 24-month period immediately preceding the priority date on the EB5 investor’s Form I-526.
  • The loss for the period in question was at least 20% of the business’s net worth.
  • The business employs at least 10 full-time employees, and is expected to maintain at least this level of employment for the next 36-42 months.

It is important to note that the process of designating a business as troubled for the purposes of EB5 investment is complex and time consuming. This is because USCIS conducts extensive diligence to ensure that such businesses are indeed facing imminent workforce terminations or layoffs.  

Additional Details

Investors are not obligated to provide day-to-day management in any business that is associated with their EB5 visa. They are also not obligated to be the majority owner or the sole investor, and they can live anywhere within the U.S. They can also petition to have their spouse and children (under 21 years of age) join them in the U.S. as part of the EB5 visa.

Learn More

The EB5 visa program is complicated and requires extensive documentation. To learn more, contact the Pollak Immigration team today. We will learn about your unique situation and immigration objectives, clearly answer your questions regarding the EB5 visa program — as well as other programs that may be an option for you or your family members — and help you create a solid, complete, timely and impressive application.

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Karen-Lee Pollak is the Managing Attorney at Pollak PLLC located in Dallas, Texas. She is a frequent speaker, author and blogger on immigration issues. She can be reached at [email protected] or under her twitter handle law_immigration.

FATCA Tax Reporting for US. Residents with Foreign Bank Accounts

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 @ 5:48 PM

permanent resident, H1BToday I asked my colleague and friend International Tax Attorney Richard Rubin to explain in an article the new FATCA tax reporting rules that goes into effect on June 30, 2015.  FATCA impact US citizens, Green Card holders and other US tax resident individuals who have accounts with non-US banks or financial institutions.

"Bank accounts in countries outside the US can cause headaches when owned by US taxpayers. While owning foreign accounts has always entailed a reporting headache for US taxpayers, the problem has recently heightened as a result of the FATCA legislation that is being implemented in a number of countries outside the US.   

FATCA is a set of US tax reporting rules that impact US citizens, Green Card holders and other US tax resident individuals who have accounts with non-US banks or financial institutions.

An acronym for the Foreign Account Transactions Compliance Act, FATCA requires banks and financial institutions in countries outside the US to provide the IRS with details of accounts that are owned by US taxpayers. Although the mechanism varies slightly by country, in most countries where FATCA has been implemented banks and financial institutions are required to report these details to the Revenue Authority of that country, and the Revenue Authority is required to pass this information along to the IRS.

Foreign banks are generally required to report accounts known to be owned by US citizens and Green Card holders, as well as accounts owned by anyone who is potentially US tax resident, as indicated for example, by an associated US address, US telephone number, or US person with signing power or other authority over the account. 

For those US tax residents who have duly reported their non-US bank and other accounts on their US tax returns (and on their Foreign Bank Account Reports or “FBAR’s”), FATCA has little practical significance. Conversely, FATCA is directly relevant to US tax residents who have not reported their non-US accounts.  FATCA is also potentially relevant to individuals living outside the US if they intend immigrating to the US or otherwise becoming US tax resident.

Compared to the Revenue Authorities of most other countries, the IRS tends to take non-compliance far more seriously, as is evident from the IRS penalties that are generally imposed for non-compliance, especially non-reporting of foreign bank accounts.  As a result, individuals who are required to report their non-US bank accounts, but have not done so, typically face heavy penalties and in some cases criminal prosecution when the IRS discovers their foreign accounts through FATCA reporting.

FATCA is at varying stages of implementation in a number of countries.  Take for example South Africa:  in June 2014 South Africa signed an agreement with the US (a so-called Intergovernmental Agreement or “IGA”), in terms of which South Africa undertook to implement FATCA according to a timetable. Although the dates originally agreed have been extended, in February 2015 South Africa enacted legislation giving effect to FATCA.  As things currently stand, South African banks and institutions are obliged to commence reporting client account details with effect from June 2015. While certain implementation issues and dates remain to be clarified, one thing is clear; that in time to come South African banks and institutions will routinely be rendering details of accounts held by US taxpayers.

As with most other jurisdictions, South African institutions are required to provide details of accounts known to be owned by US citizens or Green Card holders, as well as accounts owned by anyone who is potentially US tax resident, as indicated for example, by an associated US address, US telephone number, or US person with signing power or other authority over the account.  In some cases, an “in-care-of” or “hold mail” address is sufficient to require reporting, if this is the sole address on file with the South African bank. 

Individuals who obtain Green Cards are often unaware that if they spend even a short period in the US they typically become US taxpayers; and being unaware of their US taxpayer status, they generally don’t file US tax returns or FBAR’s, with the result they also fail to report their non-US accounts. In cases such as these, FATCA reporting may cause the individual’s foreign bank to render their account details to the IRS before the individual gets to file the necessary returns and make the necessary disclosures.

In most cases the headache of unreported foreign accounts can be relieved - and generally cured - by taking appropriate corrective measures.  This often includes some form of Voluntary Disclosure to the IRS, and in certain cases may include other forms of disclosure.  There are a number of categories of Voluntary Disclosure, and the various options entail different qualifying criteria as well as different consequences. In certain cases, the risk of criminal prosecution may favor a solution that focuses on reducing the chances of criminal indictment; while in others, the risk of criminal prosecution is sufficiently low allowing focus on a solution that reduces or eliminates civil penalties.

While the remedy always depends on the specific facts, one principal is almost universally true; that doing nothing about foreign unreported accounts is not a solution". 

If you have international tax questions call Richard

RUBIN LAW ASSOC. PC

International Tax Attorneys

USA - SA Tax & FATCA Advisors

 www.rubinlaw.us

www.fatcasouthafrica.com

 

USCIS: Backlog in Processing of EB5-I526 Immigrant Investor Petitions

Posted by Michael Pollak on Wed, Sep 18, 2013 @ 2:51 PM

Eb-5 visa, investment visa, I526USCIS has released an update on the processing times for I 526 Investor Petitions also known as the Immigration Petition for Alien Entrepeneurs.  Petitioners have grown accustomed to adjudication of these Petitions taking 6-9 months.  The latest update provided by USCIS is that Petitioners can expect these Petitions to take 16 months to approve.  As of July 31, 2013, USCIS is working on I526 petitions filed in March 2012.  

This delay in processing can have a significant impact where the Petitioner has invested $500 000 to $1 million dollars in a business but would have to conceivable wait 16 months for I526 approval and then a minimum of an additional 6 months for consular processing to be able to come to the United States to manage their investment. 

Purchasing a US Green Card | EB-5 Visa

Posted by Karen Pollak on Mon, Jun 20, 2011 @ 11:44 AM

This is the last part of a four part series on immigrating to the United States that will be appearing in BusinessBrief Magazine. BusinessBrief is a South African business management Magazine that provides the decision makers in business with the information they need to make better business decisions.

PURCHASING A U.S. GREEN CARD-AN ALTERNATIVE OPTION FOR HIGH NET INDIVIDUALS

dallas immigration lawyerFor high net individuals wanting to live in the United States, the EB 5 Investment visa is a viable option.  This visa is available to immigrants who invest in and manage U.S. companies that benefit the U.S. economy and create or save at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers.  To qualify under the EB-5 category, the new enterprise must: (1) be one in which the person has invested (or is in the process of investing) at least $1 million (or at least $500,000 if investing in a “targeted employment area,”(2) benefit the U.S. economy; and (3) create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. workers. The investor must also have at least a policy-making role in the enterprise. 

When an investor first makes the investment, they get a “conditional” green card good for two years.  At the end of that time they must prove that they have maintained their investment and have created or saved at least 10 jobs before their conditional status will be removed and they become regular green card holders. 

THE $500,000.00 OPTION

This option is available to investors who invested in a designated high employment area or rural area or who invest in what is termed a “Regional Center”.  Investment in a Regional Center does not require that the immigrant investor’s enterprise itself employ 10 U.S. workers. Instead, it is enough if 10 or more jobs will be created directly or indirectly as a result of the investment. This program also differs from the regular EB-5 provisions in that it permits private and governmental agencies to be certified as Regional Centers if they meet certain criteria.  Several private and government investments throughout the United States have been approved as Regional Centers.

THE MILLION DOLLAR GREEN CARD

In order to qualify for this green card, (1) each investor must invest (or be actively in the process of investing) the above amount in a new commercial enterprise and (2) create at least 10 qualifying full-time jobs.  Any for-profit entity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business may serve as a commercial enterprise.  An existing business may qualify if an investor “restructures” or “expands” it.  However, the term “new commercial enterprise” does not include noncommercial activity, such as owning and operating a personal residence or nonprofit enterprise. Investments creating a new enterprise but failing to create 10 new jobs will also fail to qualify for EB-5 classification.

An investor also can create a new enterprise by expanding an existing business. An expansion resulting in an increase of at least 40 percent in the net worth of the business or in the number of employees of the business will satisfy the visa requirements.

“ENGAGING” IN A NEW COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE

The petitioner must either be involved in the day-to-day managerial control of the commercial enterprise or manage it through policy formulation. The regulations state that if the EB-5 petitioner is a corporate officer or board member, or, in the case of a limited partnership, is a limited partner under the provisions of the Uniform Limited Partnership Act (ULPA), he or she satisfies the requirement of engaging in the management of the new commercial enterprise.

Source of Capital

The regulations require filing documentation to establish that capital used in the new enterprise was acquired by legitimate means.  Examples include foreign business registration records; personal and business tax returns, documents identifying source of funds and/or certified copies of all pending governmental civil or criminal actions and proceedings against the investor within the past 15 years.

Managerial Capacity of the Investor

An EB-5 immigrant must be involved in the management of a new commercial enterprise to qualify for a visa.  The petitioner must either be involved in the day-to-day managerial control of the enterprise, or manage it through policy formulation.

EB-5 PROCEDURES: REMOVING THE CONDITIONS

Assuming USCIS approves an investor’s petition, the investor becomes a conditional resident for two years following the approval of an adjustment application or admission under an immigrant visa.  An immigrant investor’s petition to remove the conditions is filed two years later accompanied by evidence that the individual invested or was in the process of investing the required capital, and that the investment created or will create 10 full-time jobs.  Once approved, the Investor and his immediate family will obtain permanent green cards--to live and work in the United States permanently. 

EB-5 Investor Visa Program May Undergo Significant Changes

Posted by Karen Pollak on Thu, May 19, 2011 @ 8:41 PM
immigration lawyer dallasU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today proposed significant enhancements to the administration of the USCIS Immigrant Investor Program, commonly referred to as the EB-5 Program—transforming the intake and review process for immigrant investors as part of the Obama administration’s continued commitment to improve the legal immigration system and meet our economic and national security needs for the 21st century.

The EB-5 Program makes 10,000 visas available annually to immigrant investors who invest in commercial enterprises that create at least 10 U.S. jobs. EB-5 investors may petition independently or as part of a USCIS-designated Regional Center.

“Congress created the EB-5 Program in 1990 to attract investors and entrepreneurs from around the globe to create jobs in America,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. “We are dedicated to enhancing this program to ensure that it achieves that goal to the fullest extent possible.”

United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) proposed three fundamental changes to the way it processes EB-5 Regional Center filings. First, USCIS proposes to accelerate its processing of applications for job-creating projects that are fully developed and ready to be implemented. USCIS will also give these EB-5 applicants and petitioners the option to request Premium Processing Service, which guarantees processing within 15 calendar days for an additional fee.

Second, USCIS proposes the creation of new specialized intake teams with expertise in economic analysis and the EB-5 Program requirements. EB-5 Regional Center applicants will be able to communicate directly with the specialized intake teams via e-mail to streamline the resolution of issues and quickly address questions or needs related to their applications.

Third, USCIS proposes to convene an expert Decision Board to render decisions regarding EB-5 Regional Center applications. The Decision Board will be composed of an economist and adjudicators and will be supported by legal counsel.

This proposal will be online until June 17, 2011, for public comment—providing stakeholders an opportunity to offer feedback on the proposed changes to the administration of the EB-5 Program

Visa Bulletin for February 2011 | Immigration

Posted by Karen Pollak on Fri, Jan 21, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

A. STATUTORY NUMBERSVisa Bulletin

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 Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status.  Allocations were made, to the extent possible under the numerical limitations, for the demand received by January 11th 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 which has been announced in this bulletin.

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:  CHINA-mainland born, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, 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.)

Family All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born DOMINICAN REPUBLIC INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st 01JAN05 01JAN05 01JAN05 01JAN05 22JAN93 01AUG94
2A 01JAN08 01JAN08 01JAN08 01JAN08 01APR05 01JAN08
2B 15APR03 15APR03 01JAN97 15APR03 01JUL92 01JUN99
3rd 01JAN01 01JAN01 01JAN01 01JAN01 22NOV92 22OCT91
4th 01JAN00 01JAN00 01JAN00 01JAN00 01JAN96 15JAN88

*NOTE:  For February, 2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 01APR05.  2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 01APR05 and earlier than 01JAN08.  (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.)

Employment- Based

All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed

CHINA- mainland born DOMINICAN REPUBLIC INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C C
2nd C 01JUL06 C 08MAY06 C C
3rd 01APR05 01JAN04 01APR05 22FEB02 08JUL03 01APR05
Other Workers 01MAY03 22APR03 01MAY03 22FEB02 01MAY03 01MAY03
4th C C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C C
5th C C C C C C
Targeted Employment Areas/ Regional Centers C C C C C C
5th Pilot Programs C C C C C C

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

Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category:  Section 203(e) of the NACARA, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year.  This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program.  Since the EW cut-off date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002.

B. DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY

Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides a maximum of up to 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.  The Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997 stipulates that beginning with DV-99, and for as long as necessary, up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NACARA program.  This reduction has resulted in the DV-2011 annual limit being reduced to 50,000.  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-2011 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:

RegionAll DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately 
AFRICA 26,100 Except: Egypt 20,200
Ethiopia 15,000
Nigeria 12,100
ASIA 14,850  
EUROPE 17,600  
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 7  
OCEANIA 810  
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN 900  

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 entitlement for all applicants registered for the DV-2011 program ends as of September 30, 2011.  DV visas may not be issued to DV-2011 applicants after that date.  Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2011 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2011.  DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2011 cannot be taken for granted.  Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.

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

For March, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2011 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:

RegionAll DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately 
AFRICA 31,950 Except: Egypt 24,275
Ethiopia 18,650
Nigeria 13,100
ASIA 17,200  
EUROPE 20,450  
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 7  
OCEANIA 900  
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN 1,025  

D. RETROGRESSION OF FAMILY CUT-OFF DATES

Continued heavy applicant demand for numbers in the Family Fourth preference category has required the retrogression of the Worldwide, China-mainland born, Dominican Republic, and India cut-off date for the month of February.

It has also been necessary to retrogress the Dominican Republic F2B category for the month of February.

Further retrogressions cannot be ruled out should demand continue at the current levels for some categories and countries. 

Please Note:   Applicants entitled to immigrant status become documentarily qualified at their own initiative and convenience. By no means has every applicant with a priority date earlier than a prevailing cut-off date been processed for final visa action.  On the contrary, visa allotments are made only on the basis of the total applicants reported documentarily qualified each month, compared with the amount of available numbers.  For example, during the past month, over 17,300 of the applicants who have become documentarily qualified in the Family preference categories have priority dates earlier than the cut-off dates established for January.  Demand for visa numbers can fluctuate from one month to another, with the inevitable impact on cut-off dates.  

Following are examples of possible cut-off date actions based on demand:

Numbers
Available 
Demand with Priority Dates
Prior to the Current Cut-off
Next Month’s
Cut-off Date Will

3,000
3,000
3,000

1,000
3,000
5,000
Advance
Remain the same
Retrogress

 

Immigration questions?  We have answers.  Free consultation available | 800-969-5529

Visa Bulletin for January 2011 | Immigration

Posted by Karen Pollak on Fri, Dec 10, 2010 @ 8:23 AM

A. STATUTORY NUMBERSVisa Bulletin

1.  This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during January. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status.  Allocations were made, to the extent possible under the numerical limitations, for the demand received by December 8th 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 which has been announced in this bulletin.

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:  CHINA-mainland born, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, 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.)

Family All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born DOMINICAN REPUBLIC INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st 01JAN05 01JAN05 01JAN05 01JAN05 08JAN93 01JUN94
2A 01JAN08 01JAN08 01JAN08 01JAN08 01APR05 01JAN08
2B 15APR03 15APR03 01MAR02 15APR03 22JUN92 15MAY99
3rd 01JAN01 01JAN01 01JAN01 01JAN01 22OCT92 22OCT91
4th 01JAN02 01JAN02 01JAN02 01JAN02 22DEC95 01JAN88

*NOTE:  For January, 2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 01APR05.  2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 01APR05 and earlier than 01JAN08.  (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.)

Employment- Based

All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed

CHINA- mainland born DOMINICAN REPUBLIC INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C C
2nd C 22JUN06 C 08MAY06 C C
3rd 22MAR05 15DEC03 22MAR05 01FEB02 15APR03 22MAR05
Other Workers 22APR03 22APR03 22APR03 01FEB02 15APR03 22APR03
4th C C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C C
5th C C C C C C
Targeted Employment Areas/ Regional Centers C C C C C C
5th Pilot Programs C C C C C C

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

Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category:  Section 203(e) of the NACARA, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year.  This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program.  Since the EW cut-off date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002.

B. DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY

Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides a maximum of up to 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.  The Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997 stipulates that beginning with DV-99, and for as long as necessary, up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NACARA program.  This reduction has resulted in the DV-2011 annual limit being reduced to 50,000.  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 January, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2011 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:

RegionAll DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately 
AFRICA 20,900 Except: Egypt 16,000
Ethiopia 13,200
Nigeria 12,100
ASIA 13,300  
EUROPE 15,400  
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 6  
OCEANIA 775  
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN 900  

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 entitlement for all applicants registered for the DV-2011 program ends as of September 30, 2011.  DV visas may not be issued to DV-2011 applicants after that date.  Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2011 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2011.  DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2011 cannot be taken for granted.  Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.

C. ADVANCE NOTIFICATION OF THE DIVERSITY (DV) IMMIGRANT CATEGORY RANK CUT-OFFS WHICH WILL APPLY IN FEBRUARY

For February, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2011 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:

RegionAll DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately 
AFRICA 26,100 Except: Egypt 20,200
Ethiopia 15,000
Nigeria 12,100
ASIA 14,850  
EUROPE 17,600  
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 7  
OCEANIA 810  
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN 900  

D. RETROGRESSION OF FAMILY CUT-OFF DATES

As reported in the December Visa Bulletin (number 27), the cut-off dates for most Family preference categories advanced at a very rapid pace during the past two years.  Those movements have resulted in a dramatic increase in the level of applicant demand received in recent months.   This has required the retrogression of many Family preference cut-off dates for January in an effort to hold number use within the various numerical limits.  Further retrogressions cannot be ruled out should demand continue at the current levels.

Immigration questions?  We have answers.  Free consultation available | 800-969-5529

Non Immigrant Visas | USCIS Revises Form I-129

Posted by Karen Pollak on Thu, Nov 11, 2010 @ 3:39 PM

USCIS has revised the Form I-129, which employers use toUSCIS petition for temporary workers in a variety of nonimmigrant visa classifications including H-1B professionals, L-1 inter-company transfeees and E-2 investors. The revised version of the form will be published on the same day that the final fee rule becomes effective: November 23, 2010. Once the revised version of the Form I-129 is published, USCIS will accept previous editions of the form for 30 days or until December 21, 2010.

Free Consultations Available | 800-969-5529

 

Visa Bulletin for November 2010 | Immigration

Posted by Michael Pollak on Sat, Oct 16, 2010 @ 8:15 AM

A. STATUTORY NUMBERSVisa Bulletin

1. This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during November. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status.  Allocations were made, to the extent possible under the numerical limitations, for the demand received by October 8th 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 which has been announced in this bulletin.

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:  CHINA-mainland born, 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.)

Family All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st 15FEB06 15FEB06 15FEB06 22DEC92 01APR97
2A 01JUN10 01JUN10 01JUN10 01MAR10 01JUN10
2B 01JUN05 01JUN05 01JUN05 22JUN92 01SEP02
3rd 01JUN02 01JUN02 01JUN02 22OCT92 01MAR95
4th 01JAN02 01JAN02 01JAN02 15DEC95 01APR91

*NOTE: For November, 2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 01MAR10.  2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 01MAR10 and earlier than 01JUN10.  (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.)

Employment- Based

All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed

CHINA- mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C
2nd C 01JUN06 08MAY06 C C
3rd 22JAN05 22NOV03 22JAN02 01MAY01 22JAN05
Other Workers 01APR03 01APR03 22JAN02 01MAY01 01APR03
4th C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
5th C C C C C
Targeted Employment Areas/ Regional Centers C C C C C
5th Pilot Programs C C C C C

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

Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category:  Section 203(e) of the NACARA, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year.  This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program.  Since the EW cut-off date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002.

B. DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY

Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides a maximum of up to 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.  The Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997 stipulates that beginning with DV-99, and for as long as necessary, up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NACARA program.  This reduction has resulted in the DV-2011 annual limit being reduced to 50,000.  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 November, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2011 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:

RegionAll DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately 
AFRICA 12,000 Except: Egypt  9,300
Ethiopia  11,000
Nigeria 10,000
ASIA 10,750  
EUROPE 12,500  
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 2  
OCEANIA 650  
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN 675  

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 entitlement for all applicants registered for the DV-2011 program ends as of September 30, 2011.  DV visas may not be issued to DV-2011 applicants after that date.  Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2011 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2011.  DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2011 cannot be taken for granted.  Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.

C. ADVANCE NOTIFICATION OF THE DIVERSITY (DV) IMMIGRANT CATEGORY RANK CUT-OFFS WHICH WILL APPLY IN DECEMBER

For December, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2011 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:

RegionAll DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately 
AFRICA 15,650 Except: Egypt  12,600
Ethiopia  12,250
Nigeria 10,850
ASIA 11,600  
EUROPE 13,600  
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 4  
OCEANIA 700  
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN 675  

Immigration questions?  We have answers.  Free consultation available | 800-969-5529

Visa Bulletin for October 2010 | Immigration

Posted by Karen Pollak on Thu, Sep 23, 2010 @ 10:00 PM

A. STATUTORY NUMBERSVisa Bulletin

1. This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during October. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status.  Allocations were made, to the extent possible under the numerical limitations, for the demand received by September 9th 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 which has been announced in this bulletin.

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:  CHINA-mainland born, 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.)

Family All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st 15FEB06 15FEB06 15FEB06 15DEC92 01MAR97
2A 01APR10 01APR10 01APR10 01JAN10 01APR10
2B 01APR05 01APR05 01APR05 22JUN92 01SEP02
3rd 01MAY02 01MAY02 01MAY02 22OCT92 01MAR95
4th 01DEC01 01DEC01 01DEC01 08DEC95 01APR91

*NOTE: For October, 2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 01JAN10.  2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT the MEXICO with priority dates beginning 01JAN10 and earlier than 01APR10.  (All 2A numbers provided for the MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit; there are no 2A numbers for MEXICO subject to per-country limit.)

Employment- Based

All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed

CHINA- mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C
2nd C 22MAY06 08MAY06 C C
3rd 08JAN05 08NOV03 15JAN02 22APR01 08JAN05
Other Workers 22MAR03 22MAR03 15JAN02 22APR01 22MAR03
4th C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
5th C C C C C
Targeted Employment Areas/ Regional Centers C C C C C
5th Pilot Programs C C C C C

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

Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category:  Section 203(e) of the NACARA, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year.  This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program.  Since the EW cut-off date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002.

B. DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY

Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides a maximum of up to 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.  The Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997 stipulates that beginning with DV-99, and for as long as necessary, up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NACARA program.  This reduction has resulted in the DV-2011 annual limit being reduced to 50,000.  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 October, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2011 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:

RegionAll DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately 
AFRICA 9,000 Except: Egypt  5,550
Ethiopia  7,450
Nigeria 7,450
ASIA 9,000  
EUROPE 9,600  
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 1  
OCEANIA 350  
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN 450  

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 entitlement for all applicants registered for the DV-2011 program ends as of September 30, 2011.  DV visas may not be issued to DV-2011 applicants after that date.  Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2011 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2011.  DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2011 cannot be taken for granted.  Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.

C. ADVANCE NOTIFICATION OF THE DIVERSITY (DV) IMMIGRANT CATEGORY RANK CUT-OFFS WHICH WILL APPLY IN OCTOBER

For November, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2011 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:

RegionAll DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately 
AFRICA 12,000 Except: Egypt  9,300
Ethiopia  11,000
Nigeria 10,000
ASIA 10,750  
EUROPE 12,500  
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 2  
OCEANIA 650  
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN 675  

D. 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.

Immigration questions?  We have answers.  Free phone consultation available | 800-969-5529

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