Visa Bulletin February 2024: Insights and Updates

The Visa Bulletin for February 2024 brings with it several insights and updates regarding the availability of immigrant visas for various categories of individuals seeking to immigrate to the United States. This month’s bulletin reflects the ongoing prioritization of certain visa categories, with notable changes in the cutoff dates for certain countries and visa classifications.

As the U.S. government continues to manage visa availability based on annual numerical limits and per-country quotas, understanding the implications of these updates is crucial for prospective immigrants, their families, and employers sponsoring their immigration.

One significant aspect of the February 2024 Visa Bulletin is the movement of cutoff dates, which can impact the timing of visa applications and processing for individuals from different regions and visa categories. These changes underscore the dynamic nature of U.S. immigration policy and the importance of staying informed about updates from the Department of State.

Additionally, the bulletin may shed light on broader trends in immigration patterns, such as shifts in demand for certain visa types or changes in priority dates for specific countries. By closely monitoring the Visa Bulletin and seeking guidance from immigration professionals, individuals, and families can better navigate the complex landscape of U.S. immigration and plan their immigration journeys with greater clarity and foresight.

Visa Bulletin: What Is It?

If you or a family member is a green card holder and planning to apply for a green card, you might have come across the Visa Bulletin. The Department of State issues this bulletin every month. It indicates which green card applications can proceed based on when the I-130 petition that initiates the green card process was filed. The Visa Bulletin also helps you estimate the duration it will take before you receive your green card. This is determined by how quickly the “line” is moving at present. Once your I-130 petition has been filed, you can check the visa bulletin and monitor your position in line as it moves forward.

This bulletin provides information about the availability of immigrant numbers during February for “Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications”. It helps in determining when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to gather and submit the required documentation to the National Visa Center.

Individuals wishing to file applications for adjustment of status with USCIS should use the “Final Action Dates” charts below to determine when they can file such applications. If USCIS finds that there are more immigrant visas accesible for the fiscal year than there are known applicants, USCIS will notify that applicants may opt to use the “Dates for Filing Visa Applications” charts in this Bulletin instead.

Consular officers report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas, whereas USCIS reports applicants for adjustment of status. Allocations in the charts below were made in chronological order of reported priority dates, for demand received by January 10th. If all demand couldn’t be met, the category or foreign state with excessive demand was considered oversubscribed.

The final action date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who couldn’t be reached within the numerical limits. If it’s required to retrogress a final action date during the monthly allocation process, additional requests for numbers will only be accepted if the priority date falls within the new final action date specified in this bulletin. If the annual limit is reached at any point, the preference category would need to be immediately declared “unavailable,” and no more number requests would be accommodated.

The fiscal year 2024 limit for family-sponsored preference immigrants, as established by Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), is 226,000. The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000. The per-country limit for preference immigrants is established at 7% of the yearly limits for family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits, which is 25,620. The dependent area limit is set at 2%, or 7,320.

Family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas are granted to eligible immigrants based on the chronological order of filed petitions on their behalf. Spouses and children of preference immigrants are granted equivalent status and are considered in the same order if they accompany or follow the principal immigrant. The visa prorating provisions are implemented when visa issuances surpass the per-country limit for a foreign state or dependent area. Currently, these provisions apply to the following oversubscribed areas: China (mainland-born), Mexico, India, and the Philippines.