In September 2011, the US Department of State issued a Visa Bulletin for October 2011.”” The purpose of the bulletin was to summarize the number of US visas available. If you have an immigrant visa pending, these numbers may be important to you. The visa amounts are significant because only a limited number of certain types of visas are made available each year. For example, under Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), family-sponsored preference visas are capped at 226,000 annually. Employment-based visas usually number at least 140 000 each year. As well, there is a limit to the number of family-sponsored preference visas granted each country. Currently, that limit is 25,620. Visas are issued in the order in which they are applied for, but immigrant visa petitioners must wait until a visa number becomes available.
According to the October 2011 bulletin, there are 23,400 visas available for the Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens, 114,200 for Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents, and 23,400 visas for the Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens. There are also 65,000 visas available for the Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens. These numbers do not include numbers not required by specific preferences, so in some categories more visas may be issued.
The October 2011 bulletin also notes that the number of applicants from some countries, notably India, China, the Philippines, and Mexico, exceeds the number of visas available for applicants in those countries. The Department of State bulletin has listed special priority dates for applicants in these countries.
In addition, the October 2011 bulletin from the US Department of State addresses The Diversity Immigrant (DV) program. The program usually offers up to 55 000 green cards through a random “lottery” to applicants from countries which are under-represented in US immigration. The 2012 program, however, will see only 50 000 visas issued, since 5 000 visas will be issued through the NACARA program. Each geographic region will have access to a specific number of green cards. For example, 8500 have been earmarked for Africa, 8000 for Asia, 8500 for Europe, and 3 for North America. In addition, each individual country can have no more than 7% of the total, so that all the European green cards will not be concentrated in one or two countries. If you are interested in taking part in The Diversity Immigrant (DV) program this year and are from a qualifying country, it is important to apply early, before the limits are reached.