What Is the Visa Bulletin?

If you have submitted your U.S. Green Card or visa application, you are likely anxious to hear back as to when your application will be approved and when your Green Card or visa issued. If your application was for a Green Card or visa category that is subject to a quota, you were likely placed in a line to wait until one becomes available for you in that category. Your place in line is, essentially, your priority date. Your priority date is the date that USCIS received your Green Card or visa petition. Now, you can check the visa bulletin as to where your priority date falls into the waitlist or line.

Overview of the Visa Bulletin

The U.S. Department of State publishes the visa bulletin about immigration to the United States on a monthly basis. The central purpose of the visa bulletin is to provide interested individuals with an updated waitlist according to priority date for those applying for a Green Card or visa which is subject to the quota system. You see, Congress places a cap on the number of Green Cards and visas that are issued every year. In almost all categories, the amount of allowable Green Cards and visas subject to a cap has been less than the number of people seeking them. That is why a waitlist has been developed.

Some seeking a U.S. Green Card or visa will not be subject to a waitlist, including spouses of U.S. citizens. Others, however, such as those seeking to come to the U.S. as a relative of a permanent resident, will be subject to the waitlist. The visa bulletin will update every month about which priority dates have become current and will, therefore, be granted their visa or Green Card. Usually, the visa bulletin is issued in the second or third week of every month.

The visa bulletin can be helpful, but you need to be able to understand how it is formatted in order to successfully access this helpful information. The standard format of the visa bulletin sorts priority dates of applicants and is divided by visa categories such as preference allocation for family-sponsored applicants and preference allocation for employment-based applicants.

For every preference visa category, there are tables available to review in every visa bulletin. When you find your priority date in your preference visa category, a “C” will mean current. This means that there are visa numbers available to be issued to all qualified applicants. If there is a “U,” it means that there are no visa numbers currently available to be issued to qualified applicants.

Immigration Law Attorneys

If you should have any questions or need more information about the ways in which the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Laws may impact you, your family, your friends or your colleagues, please contact the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers at the NPZ Law Group – VISASERVE – U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers by e-mailing us at info@visaserve.com or by calling us at 201-670-0006 (x104). You can also visit our Law Firm’s website at www.visaserve.com.