A Visa Bulletin is a monthly publication issued by the U.S. Department of State (DOS). It provides information about the availability of immigrant visas (green cards) for individuals seeking to become lawful permanent residents (LPRs) of the United States. The Visa Bulletin is a critical resource for individuals applying for immigrant visas through family-sponsored, employment-based, or diversity visa (DV) programs.
The Visa Bulletin contains two main sections:
1. Family-Sponsored Preferences: This section outlines the availability of immigrant visas for family-sponsored applicants, which includes U.S. citizens sponsoring family members like spouses, children, parents, and siblings. It specifies which categories of family-sponsored visas are currently eligible for processing and which priority dates are being considered for visa issuance.
2. Employment-Based Preferences: This section provides information on immigrant visas available for employment-based applicants, including skilled workers, professionals, investors, and other employment categories. Like the family-sponsored section, it lists priority dates for each preference category.
The Visa Bulletin is organized based on the preference categories and countries of chargeability. For countries with high demand for immigrant visas, especially in certain preference categories, there may be backlogs. The Visa Bulletin helps applicants track the progress of these backlogs by providing “cut-off” priority dates, which determine when an applicant can move forward with the visa application process.
Applicants and their sponsoring relatives can use the Visa Bulletin to monitor visa availability, track priority dates, and anticipate when they can proceed with visa interviews and final processing. It’s essential to check the Visa Bulletin regularly, as visa availability can change from month to month based on the allocation of visa numbers and the demand for those visas.
In summary, the Visa Bulletin is a valuable tool for individuals seeking immigrant visas to the United States. It helps applicants and immigration professionals understand when they can proceed with their visa applications and navigate the complex visa allocation process.