Visa Bulletin For February 2023

Number 74
Volume X
Washington, D.C

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A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during February for: “Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications,” indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center.

Unless otherwise indicated on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website at www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo, individuals seeking to file applications for adjustment of status with USCIS in the Department of Homeland Security must use the “Final Action Dates” charts below for determining when they can file such applications. When USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for the fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, USCIS will state on its website that applicants may instead use the “Dates for Filing Visa Applications” charts in this Bulletin. 

  1. Procedures for determining dates. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; USCIS reports applicants for adjustment of status. Allocations in the charts below were made, to the extent possible, in chronological order of reported priority dates, for demand received by January 11th. If not all demand could be satisfied, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed. The final action date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits. If it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a final action date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the priority date falls within the new final action date announced in this bulletin. If at any time an annual limit were reached, it would be necessary to immediately make the preference category “unavailable”, and no further requests for numbers would be honored.
  2. Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000. The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000. Section 202 prescribes that the per-country limit for preference immigrants is set at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits, i.e., 25,620. The dependent area limit is set at 2%, or 7,320.
  3. INA Section 203(e) provides that family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition in behalf of each has been filed. Section 203(d) provides that spouses and children of preference immigrants are entitled to the same status, and the same order of consideration, if accompanying or following to join the principal. The visa prorating provisions of Section 202(e) apply to allocations for a foreign state or dependent area when visa demand exceeds the per-country limit. These provisions apply at present to the following oversubscribed chargeability areas: CHINA-mainland born, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, INDIA, MEXICO, and PHILIPPINES. 
  4. Section 203(a) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Family-sponsored immigrant visas as follows: 

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

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.

A. FINAL ACTION DATES FOR FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCE CASES

On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); "C" means current, i.e., numbers are authorized for issuance to all qualified applicants; and "U" means unauthorized, i.e., numbers are not authorized for issuance. (NOTE: Numbers are authorized for issuance only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the final action date listed below.)

Family-
Sponsored 

All Chargeability 
Areas Except
Those Listed

CHINA-mainland 
born

INDIA

MEXICO

PHILIPPINES 

F1

01DEC14

01DEC14

01DEC14

01APR01

01MAR12

F2A

C

C

C

C

C

F2B

22SEP15

22SEP15

22SEP15

01JUN01

22OCT11

F3

22NOV08

22NOV08

22NOV08

01NOV97

08JUN02

F4

22MAR07

22MAR07

15SEP05

01AUG00

22AUG02

B. DATES FOR FILING FAMILY-SPONSORED VISA APPLICATIONS

The chart below reflects dates for filing visa applications within a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process. Applicants for immigrant visas who have a priority date earlier than the application date in the chart below may assemble and submit required documents to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, following receipt of notification from the National Visa Center containing detailed instructions. The application date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who cannot submit documentation to the National Visa Center for an immigrant visa. If a category is designated “current,” all applicants in the relevant category may file applications, regardless of priority date.

The “C” listing indicates that the category is current, and that applications may be filed regardless of the applicant’s priority date. The listing of a date for any category indicates that only applicants with a priority date which is earlier than the listed date may file their application.

Visit www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo for information on whether USCIS has determined that this chart can be used (in lieu of the chart in paragraph 4.A.) this month for filing applications for adjustment of status with USCIS. 

Family-
Sponsored 

All Chargeability 
Areas Except
Those Listed

CHINA-
mainland 
born

INDIA

MEXICO

PHILIPPINES 

F1

08AUG16

08AUG16

08AUG16

01DEC02

22APR15

F2A

C

C

C

C

C

F2B

01JAN17

01JAN17

01JAN17

01JAN02

01OCT13

F3

08NOV09

08NOV09

08NOV09

15JUN01

08NOV03

F4

15DEC07

15DEC07

22FEB06

01APR01

22APR04

  1. Section 203(b) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Employment-based immigrant visas as follows: 

EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES

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, of which 32% are reserved as follows: 20% reserved for qualified immigrants who invest in a rural area; 10% reserved for qualified immigrants who invest in a high unemployment area; and 2% reserved for qualified immigrants who invest in infrastructure projects. The remaining 68% are unreserved and are allotted for all other qualified immigrants.

A. FINAL ACTION DATES FOR EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CASES

On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); "C" means current, i.e., numbers are authorized for issuance to all qualified applicants; and "U" means unauthorized, i.e., numbers are not authorized for issuance. (NOTE: Numbers are authorized for issuance only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the final action date listed below.)

Employment-
based

All Chargeability 
Areas Except
Those Listed

CHINA-
mainland 
born

EL SALVADOR
GUATEMALA
HONDURAS

INDIA

MEXICO

PHILIPPINES

1st

C

01FEB22

C

01FEB22

C

C

2nd

01NOV22

08JUN19

01NOV22

08OCT11

01NOV22

01NOV22

3rd

C

01AUG18

C

15JUN12

C

C

Other Workers

01JAN20

22DEC13

01JAN20

15JUN12

01JAN20

01JAN20

4th

22JUN22

22JUN22

15MAR18

22JUN22

15SEP20

22JUN22

Certain Religious Workers

22JUN22

22JUN22

15MAR18

22JUN22

15SEP20

22JUN22

5th Unreserved
(including C5, T5, I5, R5)

C

22MAR15

C

08NOV19

C

C

5th Set Aside:
Rural (20%)

C

C

C

C

C

C

5th Set Aside:
High Unemployment (10%)

C

C

C

C

C

C

5th Set Aside:
Infrastructure (2%)

C

C

C

C

C

C

*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 final action date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002. For Fiscal Year 2023 this reduction will be limited to approximately 150.

B. DATES FOR FILING OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA APPLICATIONS

The chart below reflects dates for filing visa applications within a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process. Applicants for immigrant visas who have a priority date earlier than the application date in the chart may assemble and submit required documents to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, following receipt of notification from the National Visa Center containing detailed instructions. The application date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who cannot submit documentation to the National Visa Center for an immigrant visa. If a category is designated “current,” all applicants in the relevant category may file, regardless of priority date.

The “C” listing indicates that the category is current, and that applications may be filed regardless of the applicant’s priority date. The listing of a date for any category indicates that only applicants with a priority date which is earlier than the listed date may file their application.

Visit www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo for information on whether USCIS has determined that this chart can be used (in lieu of the chart in paragraph 5.A.) this month for filing applications for adjustment of status with USCIS. 

Employment-
based

All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed

CHINA-
mainland 
born

EL SALVADOR
GUATEMALA
HONDURAS

INDIA

MEXICO 

PHILIPPINES 

1st

C

01JUN22

C

01JUN22

C

C

2nd

01DEC22

08JUL19

01DEC22

01MAY12 

01DEC22

01DEC22

3rd

C

01SEP18

C

01AUG12

C

C

Other Workers

01FEB20

01NOV15

01FEB20

01AUG12

01FEB20

01FEB20

4th

22JUL22

22JUL22

15APR18

22JUL22

15OCT20

22JUL22

Certain Religious Workers

22JUL22

22JUL22

15APR18

22JUL22

15OCT20

22JUL22

5th Unreserved
(including C5, T5, I5, R5)

C

01JAN16

C

08DEC19

C

C

5th Set Aside:
(Rural - 20%)

C

C

C

C

C

C

5th Set Aside:
(High Unemployment - 10%)

C

C

C

C

C

C

5th Set Aside:
(Infrastructure - 2%)

C

C

C

C

C

C

B. DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY FOR THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY

Section 203(c) of the INA provides up to 55,000 immigrant visas each fiscal year to permit additional immigration opportunities for persons from countries with low admissions during the previous five years. The NACARA stipulates that beginning with DV-99, and for as long as necessary, up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NACARA program. This will result in reduction of the DV-2023 annual limit to approximately 54,850. DV visas are divided among six geographic regions. No one country can receive more than seven percent of the available diversity visas in any one year.

For February, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2023 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:

Region

All DV Chargeability Areas Except
Those Listed Separately

AFRICA

35,000

Except: Algeria 18,425
Egypt 16,150
Morocco 31,725

ASIA

15,500

Except: Iran 5,500
Nepal 7,000

EUROPE

15,000

Except: Russia 12,000
Uzbekistan 8,500

NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 

5

OCEANIA

1,100

SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN

2,100

Entitlement to immigrant status in the DV category lasts only through the end of the fiscal (visa) year for which the applicant is selected in the lottery. The year of entitlement for all applicants registered for the DV-2023 program ends as of September 30, 2023. DV visas may not be issued to DV-2023 applicants after that date. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2023 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2023. DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2023 cannot be taken for granted. Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.

C. THE DIVERSITY (DV) IMMIGRANT CATEGORY RANK CUT-OFFS WHICH WILL APPLY IN MARCH

For March, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2023 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:

Region

All DV Chargeability Areas Except
Those Listed Separately

AFRICA

45,000

Except: Algeria 18,425
Egypt 16,150
Morocco 31,725

ASIA

18,750

Except: Iran 5,500
Nepal 8,025

EUROPE

26,000

Except: Russia 14,660
Uzbekistan 8,500

NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 

13

OCEANIA

1,100

SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN

2,100

D. FAMILY-SPONSORED SECOND PREFERENCE VISA AVAILABILITY

Number use in the F2A category has remained steady throughout FY-2023 and it may be necessary to establish an F2A final action date as early as March to keep number use within the annual limit. This situation is being continually monitored and any necessary adjustments will be made accordingly.

E. RETROGRESSION IN THE WORLDWIDE FINAL ACTION AND APPLICATION FILING DATES IN THE EMPLOYMENT THIRD PREFERENCE “OTHER WORKERS” (EW) CATEGORY

Higher than expected number use in the Employment Third Preference “Other Workers” (EW) category, most notably amongst applicants with earlier priority dates, has necessitated further retrogressions in the worldwide final action date and application filing date for February to hold number use within the maximum allowed under the Fiscal Year 2023 annual limit. Except for China and India, all countries are subject to a final action date of 01JAN20 and an application filing date of 01FEB20. This situation will be continually monitored, and any necessary adjustments will be made accordingly.

F. EXTENSION OF EMPLOYMENT FOURTH PREFERENCE CERTAIN RELIGIOUS WORKERS (SR) CATEGORY

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, enacted on December 29, 2022, extended the Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR) category until September 30, 2023. As indicated in item E of the January 2023 Visa Bulletin, the extension resulted in this category immediately becoming available, subject to the same final action dates as the other Employment Fourth Preference categories per applicable foreign state of chargeability.

G. FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION ON VISA PROCESSING AT U.S. EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, PLEASE VISIT THE BUREAU OF CONSULAR AFFAIRS WEBSITE AT TRAVEL.STATE.GOV

Department of State Publication 9514

CA/VO: January 11, 2023