December 2013 Visa Bulletin
Most immigrant visas to the U.S. are numerically limited both by preference category and by country of chargeability (which is, in most cases, one’s country of birth). Most immigrants are sponsored either by U.S. citizen or permanent resident relatives or, alternately, through their employment or investment in the United States. Scroll down this page to see the current State Department Visa Bulletin, showing backlogs in both the family and the employment-based categories.
If you are unfamiliar with the Visa Bulletin, read our explanation of the Family Categories and the Employment Categories. You should also note that the visa bulletin is backward-looking, meaning that it indicates how long people in a given category have been waiting for visas, not the waiting times for those currently applying.
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The following family-based categories are defined as such: F1) unmarried adult sons and daughters of US citizens, F2A) spouses and children under 21 years of age of lawful permanent residents, F2B) unmarried adult sons or daughters of legal permanent residents, F3) married sons and daughters of US citizens, F4) brothers and sisters of US citizens. An applicant’s priority date is the day that the government received the relative’s I-130 Petition. For more on family-based visas and how you can shorten your application time, see Attorney Shusterman’s video near the top of this page.
The employment-based (EB) categories are as follows:
An applicant’s priority date is the day that the government received the employer’s PERM application. However, if a PERM application is not required, the priority date is the date the government received an EB visa petition (I-140, I-360, I-526). Watch our EB videos to see various methods of shortening your waiting time for a green card.
Persons born in countries other than India, China, Mexico and the Philippines should look in the “Worldwide” current on the left side of the Visa Bulletin to determine their “priority date”. A priority date is established by the submission of a relative visa petition in the family categories, and by either the submission of an application for alien labor certification or by the submission of an employment-based visa petition in the employment categories.
The word “Current” indicates that no backlog presently exists in a particular category. Alternately, the word “Unavailable” indicates that it is not possible to apply for permanent residence in that category.
The dates in the Visa Bulletin can be misleading. Some dates, particularly in the Employment Based Categories, are “current” now, but may backlog before you can say “I-485″. Others, particularly in the Family Based Categories, look closer on the Bulletin than they are in reality.