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Check Your Visa Availability

Check Your Visa Availability

Figuring out visa availability is hard, and the stakes are high.If you apply too early your application will be rejected. If you apply too late, you might lose your place in line. We make it easy to keep track of your priority date and apply as soon as you’re eligible.

Fast, Easy, Accurate. Let us help you find out if this is the right time to apply for your Green Card.

More Information

Under U.S. immigration law, only a certain number of people can get a green card each year. Applicants can wait months, or sometimes years, for a visa number to become available so that they can apply for a green card. The only applicants who don’t have to wait in line for a green card to become available are certain kinds of family-based green card applicants know as “Immediate Relatives.”

In order to qualify as an “Immediate Relative,” you must be:

  • An adult green card applicant who is applying on the basis of sponsorship by a U.S. citizen spouse or adult child;
    or
  • A minor, unmarried applicant applying on the basis of a sponsorship by a U.S. citizen parent.

If you’re not an “Immediate Relative,” you need to check if a visa number is available before you can apply for your green card.Visa availability is decided based on an applicant’s country of chargeability, priority date and preference category.

Country of Chargeability

Your country of chargeability is your country of birth. Applicants who were born in India, Mexico, the Philippines or China usually have to wait longer for a visa number to become available than applicants from other countries.

Cross Chargeability

If you were born in India, Mexico, the Philippines or China and you are married to someone who was born in a different country AND your spouse is applying for a green card with you, then you can use your spouse’s country of birth as your “country of chargeability” if that would make your wait time shorter.

Priority Date

In most cases your priority date is the date that your immigrant petition was received by USCIS. You can find your priority date on the Form I-797 Approval Notice you received when your immigrant petition was approved.

Note: If you are applying for an employment-based green card based on an Approved Labor Certification, then your Priority Date is the date that your Labor Certification was filed.

Preference Category

In family-based green card applications, your preference category is determined by the immigration status of the sponsor, and the type of family relationship. Family-based green card sponsors are required to file a Form I-130 immigrant petition to start the sponsorship process. You can find your preference category on the I-130 Approval Notice, underneath “Notice Type.”

Family-Based Preference Categories

  • F1 Unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens
  • F2A Spouse or children of green card holders
  • F2B Unmarried adult children of green card holders
  • F3 Married adult children of U.S. citizens
  • F4 Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens

In employment-based green card applications, your preference category is determined by the kind of work you will do in the U.S., and by the qualifications required to perform that work. Employment-based green card sponsors are generally required to File a Form I-140 I-140, Immigrant Petition. But some employment-based applicants have an approved I-360 petition, or an approved I-526 petition. You can find your preference category on the I-140, I-360 or I-526 Approval Notice, underneath “Notice Type.”

Employment -Based Preference Categories

  • EB-1 Priority Workers If you’re in this category, you filed a Form I-140 Immigrant Petition as an “Alien of Extraordinary Ability,” “Outstanding University Professor or Researcher,” or “Multinational Manager or Executive.”
  • EB-2 Members of the profession holding advanced degrees or aliens of exceptional ability If you’re in this category, you either;
    Filed a Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for a “National Interest Waiver;” or
    Filed a Form I-140 Immigrant Petition on the basis of an approved Labor Certification for a position requiring an advanced degree.
  • EB-3 Skilled workers and professionals If you’re in this category, you filed a Form I-140 Immigrant Petition on the basis of an approved Labor Certification for a position requiring less than a Bachelor’s degree + 5 years of experience, but more than 2 years of training or experience.
  • EB-3 Other Workers If you’re in this category, you filed a Form I-140 Immigrant Petition on the basis of an approved Labor Certification for a position requiring less than 2 years of training or experience.
  • EB-4 This is a strange category, because some of the applicants who apply under this preference are not actually getting a green card through employment. If you’re in this category, you filed a Form I-360 petition because:

    1) You were married to a U.S. Citizen, but your U.S. Citizen spouse passed away before sponsoring you for a green card; or

    2) You filed for your green card under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) because you were married to a U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident and you were abused by your U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse; or

    3) You filed for your green card under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) because you were a child of a U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident and you were abused by your U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident parent; or

    4) You filed for your green card under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) because you were the parent of a U.S. Citizen and your U.S. Citizen child abused you; or

    5) You were a Special Immigrant Juvenile because when you were under 18 a judge determined that you were dependent of the court and could not be reunited with your parent(s); or

    6) You were a member of the U.S. Armed Forces; or

    7) You were a Special Immigrant physician; or

    8) You were an "Amerasian," which means your father was a U.S. Citizen and you were born in Korea, Vietnam, Laus, Kampuchea, or Thailand between December 31, 1950 and October 22, 1982; or

    9) You were an Afghan or Iraqi national who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. Government in Iraq; or

    10) You were an Afghan national who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. as a translator; or

    11) You were an Afghan national who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. government or the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan; or

    12) You were a Panama Canal Company Employee, Canal Zone Government Employee, U.S. Government in the Canal Zone Employee; or

    13) You were an International Organization or NATO-6 employee or were a family member of an International Organization or NATO-6 employee; or

    14) You were sponsored for you green card by the International Broadcasting Bureau of the United States Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), Radio Free Asia Inc. (FRA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc. (RFE/RL), or the Middle East Broadcasting Network (MBN); or

    15)You are a religious worker and want a green card for the purpose of performing religious work in the United States.
  • EB-5 Investors Non-Regional Center (C5 and T5)
    If you’re in this category, you filed a Form I-526 petition based on your direct investment in a project with the intention of creating U.S. jobs.

    Regional Center (I5 and R5)
    If you’re in this category, you filed a Form I-526 petition based on your investment with a Regional Center with the purpose of indirectly creating U.S. jobs.

Each month USCIS publishes the cut-off dates for each preference category so that applicants can determine whether this is the appropriate time to apply for green card.