Employment-Based Visa Availability
The Department of State publishes a monthly Visa Bulletin that tells applicants when their Priority Date is current. Applicants must wait for their Priority Date to become current before they can apply for a Green Card.
Visa Cut-Off Dates for March 2020
APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES (Dates when visas may finally be issued)
DATES FOR FILING APPLICATIONS (Earliest dates when applicants may be able to apply)
How to Read the Visa Bulletin
First, identify your Preference Category from following list:
- First: Priority Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.
- Second: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.
- Third: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to "*Other Workers".
- Fourth: Certain Special Immigrants: 7.1% of the worldwide level.
- Fifth: Employment Creation: 7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of Pub. L. 102-395.
Next, identify your country of nationality (If you are claiming chargeability from a country other than China, India, Mexico or Philippines, then you should refer to the first column, labeled "All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed.") The cell that represents your Preference Category and Country of Nationality will contain either a date or a letter.
If a cell is marked "C" that means that the Priority Date is current in that Category and visa numbers are available. If a cell is marked "U" it means that no visas are available for the rest of the fiscal year (which ends on November 30). If a date appears in the cell, then that date signifies the visa "cut-off" date. Applicants must have a Priority Date that falls before the date listed in the cell in order to qualify to apply for a Green Card.
*Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category: Section 203(e) of the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year. This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program. Since the EW cut-off date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002.