John Q Khosravi Law Firm

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John Q. Khosravi Immigration Law Firm (JQK Law Firm)

Website: JQKLaw.com

Email: info@jqklaw.com

Phone: (310) 582-5904; (818) 934-1561

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Licensed to Practice in CA. Practice Focus on Federal Immigration Law. This Blog is Legal Advertisement.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Family and Employment Based Immigration: The Visa Bulletin, Preferences, Who Can Petition and How Long Does It Take?


Every year the United States issues a limited number of Visas allowing foreign nationals to gain Permanent Residency, also known as a Green Card. The main two categories for gaining a Green Card are Family and Employment Based. Each Category has subcategories known as Preferences based on how a person will be getting a Green Card.

Regulation INA SEC 201 allows an annual family sponsored preference limit of 226,000. The worldwide level for employment based preference immigrants is 140,000. INA SEC 202 set a per country limit of 7% of the total annual family or employment based preference limits. This means that each country has a limited to the number of visas that can be issued to its nationals every year. Some countries become oversubscribed causing longer delays for them such as for nationals of China, India, Mexico and the Philippines.

The timetable found on the Visa Bulletin Page of the US State Department Website is updated every month with a chart that show which Preferences Green Card petitions are currently being issued visas. The dates in the charts are based on the “Priority Number” an Applicant Receives. The priority number is listed on the Immigration Department (USCIS) receipt that a petitioner or beneficiary receives when they first apply. It is the date that the USCIS receives a complete application. Once an applicants priority date is “Current”, meaning the date matches or before the day on the chart, then a visa is has become available to that person.

Please note that the number of visa requests are so many at times, that instead of having the dates that a visa is available moving forward, they move backwards. This is called Visa Retrogression. This can affect people that have children that will age out and affect the CSPA calculation.

Family-Based Petitions (Form I-130)

Please note that US Citizens can apply for immediate relatives such as a spouse, parent or child (Unmarried Child under age of 21) without having to wait for a visa to become available. The preference category for a US Citizen child is for those that are over the age of 21, are children that are married, or are for siblings of US Citizens. Moreover, Green Card holders can only petition for their children and spouses.

INA SEC 203(a) creates 4 preference classes for getting family Sponsored Immigrant Visas:


  • First Preference (F1): Unmarried Sons and Daughters of US Citizen.
  • Second Preference (F2):
    • F2A: Spouse and Children of Green Card Holders
    • F2B: Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Green Card Holders.
  • Third Preference (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of US Citizens
  • Fourth Preference (F4) Brothers and Sisters (Siblings) of Adult US Citizens.


Sample from August 2014

Family-Sponsored
All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed
CHINA-mainland born
INDIA
MEXICO
PHILIPPINES
F1
22APR07
22APR07 
22APR07
08APR94
01JUN04
F2A
01MAY12
01MAY12
01MAY12
15MAR11
01MAY12
F2B
01JUL07
01JUL07
01JUL07
01APR94 
08OCT03
F3
15NOV03
15NOV03
15NOV03
15SEP93
15APR93
F4
01JAN02
01JAN02
01JAN02
01JAN97
22JAN91

Example:  If you are a Chinese national that had a US Permanent Resident Spouse Petition for you (F2A) June 1, 2012, your Visa number would not be ready as of August 2014. However, if they had applied on April 1, 2012, then the Visa number would be ready and the application would have been sent to the National Visa Center, or you would be able to Adjust Status in the United States if lawfully present.


Employment-Based Petitions (Form I-140)

INA SEC 203(b) creates 5 preference classes for getting Employment Based Visas:

  • First Preference (EB-1): Priority Workers. Please note this group does not require a Department of Labor Certificate/PERM. Although EB-1a applicants mush explain how they will continue their career in the US, EB-1b applicants must have a job offer, and EB-1c applicants must be working for the company that have been employed with.
  • Second Preference (EB-2): Members of Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability: Please note that the Department of Labor Certificate and PERM are required in this category, exception for those applying for a National Interest Waiver (EB-2c).
  • Third Preference (EB-3): Skilled Workers, Professionals and Other Workers: Please note that the Department of Labor Certificate and PERM are required in this category.
  • Fourth Preference (EB-4): Certain Special Immigrants.
  • Fifth Preference (EB-5): Immigrant Investors Based on Employment Creation. Please note that this Visa preference is based on job creation, not the employment of the immigrant.


C: Current (numbers are available for all qualified applicants)
U: Visas are unavailable

Sample from August 2014

Employment- Based
All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed
CHINA - mainland born
INDIA
MEXICO
PHILIPPINES
1st
C
C
C
C
C
2nd
C
08OCT09
22JAN09
C
C
3rd
01APR11
01NOV08
08NOV03
01APR11
01JUN10
Other Workers
01APR11
22JUL05
08NOV03
01APR11
01JUN10
4th
C
C
C
C
C
Certain Religious Workers
C
C
C
C
C
5th
C
C
C
C
C

Example: If you or your employer petitioned for an EB-1 Visa there is no backlog. Thus a Visa number is immediately available upon approval of the petition by USCIS.  However, some categories for some countries like China and India are experiencing a backlog in categories such as EB-2. The priority date of the approved application must become current before the Visa number becomes available.