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What is the Visa Bulletin?

The Visa Bulletin is a monthly publication published by the U.S. Department of State that provides an updated waiting list (also known as a priority date) for immigrants. The bulletin provides updated numbers for applicants and the current priority dates for those applicants. 

Each month, the bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers for that month for “Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications” to indicate when visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center. 

Immigrants are categorized under certain categories that have a waiting list and those that do not. For those on a waiting list, a certain number of visas become available each year. The Department of State is responsible for determining monthly immigrant visa cut-off dates and for releasing the monthly Bulletin.

The categories are formatted based on Family-sponsored immigrant and Employment-based immigrants. In the tables, “C” means current (visa numbers are available for all qualified applicants), “U” means unauthorized, and a listing date for any class often indicates that the class is oversubscribed. Additional information is provided per each table. 

Unless otherwise indicated on the website, immigrants seeking to file applications for adjustment of status must use the “Final Action Dates” charts to determine when they can file such applications first, and then when USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for the year than known applicants, USCIS will state on its website that applicants may instead use “Dates for Filing Visa Applications.” 

The visa bulletin can be difficult to understand. If you have questions on your priority date or the visa bulletin, be sure to contact our firm to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!