Family-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 October 2016

APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES (Dates when visas may finally be issued)

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 22SEP09 22SEP09 22SEP09 01APR95 01AUG05
F2A 22DEC14 22DEC14 22DEC14 01DEC14 22DEC14
F2B 15MAR10 15MAR10 15MAR10 01OCT95 01JAN06
F3 22DEC04 22DEC04 22DEC04 22NOV94 08JUL94
F4 01NOV03 01MAY03 01DEC02 01MAY97 15APR93

*NOTE: For October, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 01DEC14. F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 01DEC14 and earlier than 22DEC14. All F2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit.


DATES FOR FILING APPLICATIONS (Earliest dates when applicants may be able to apply)

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 01JAN11 01JAN11 01JAN11 01JUN95 01MAY06
F2A 22NOV15 22NOV15 22NOV15 22NOV15 22NOV15
F2B 08FEB11 08FEB11 08FEB11 01JUN96 01FEB07
F3 22AUG05 22AUG05 22AUG05 01MAY95 01JAN95
F4 01JUL04 01JUL04 01MAY04 01DEC97 01APR94

How to Read the Visa Bulletin

First, identify your Preference Category from following list:

  • First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.
  • Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:
    1. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;
    2. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents: 23% of the overall second preference limitation.
  • Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.
  • Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

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 September 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.

Please note that if you are applying as the spouse or unmarried childof a U.S. citizen, or if you are applying as the parent of a U.S.citizen who is over the age of 18, then a visa number is immediately available to you and you are not required to wait for a Priority Date to become current.