Visa Bulletin For September 2023

Number 81
Volume X
Washington, D.C

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A. STATUTORY NUMBERS FOR PREFERENCE IMMIGRANT VISAS

This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during September 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 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 August 4th. 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. The fiscal year 2023 limit for family-sponsored preference immigrants determined in accordance with Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is 226,000. The fiscal year 2023 limit for employment-based preference immigrants calculated under INA 201 is 197,091. 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., 29,616 for FY-2023. The dependent area limit is set at 2%, or 8,462.
  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, 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

01JAN15

01JAN15

01JAN15

22APR01

01MAR12

F2A

01JAN18

01JAN18

01JAN18

01SEP16

01JAN18

F2B

22SEP15

22SEP15

22SEP15

01AUG01

22OCT11

F3

08JAN09

08JAN09

08JAN09

15JAN98

08JUN02

F4

22APR07

22APR07

15SEP05

01AUG00

22AUG02

For September, F2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 01SEP16. F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO, with priority dates beginning 01SEP16 and earlier than 01JAN18. All F2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit.

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

01SEP17

01SEP17

01SEP17

01APR05

22APR15

F2A

01SEP23

01SEP23

01SEP23

01SEP23

01SEP23

F2B

01JAN17

01JAN17

01JAN17

01AUG04

01OCT13

F3

01MAR10

01MAR10

01MAR10

15JUN01

08NOV03

F4

01MAR08

01MAR08

22FEB06

15APR01

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

INDIA

MEXICO

PHILIPPINES

1st

01AUG23

01FEB22

01JAN12

01AUG23

01AUG23

2nd

01JUL22

08JUL19

01JAN11

01JUL22

01JUL22

3rd

01MAY20

01SEP19

01JAN09

01MAY20

01MAY20

Other Workers

01MAY20

01SEP15

01JAN09

01MAY20

01MAY20

4th

01SEP18

01SEP18

01SEP18

01SEP18

01SEP18

Certain Religious Workers

01SEP18

01SEP18

01SEP18

01SEP18

01SEP18

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

C

08SEP15

01APR17

C

C

5th Set Aside:
Rural (20%)

C

C

C

C

C

5th Set Aside:
High Unemployment (10%)

C

C

C

C

C

5th Set Aside:
Infrastructure (2%)

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 167.

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

INDIA

MEXICO 

PHILIPPINES 

1st

C

01JUN22

01JUN22

C

C

2nd

01DEC22

08OCT19

01MAY12 

01DEC22

01DEC22

3rd

01MAY23

01NOV19

01AUG12

01MAY23

01MAY23

Other Workers

01JUN20

01JAN16

01AUG12

01JUN20

01JUN20

4th

01OCT18

01OCT18

01OCT18

01OCT18

01OCT18

Certain Religious Workers

01OCT18

01OCT18

01OCT18

01OCT18

01OCT18

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

C

01JAN16

08DEC19

C

C

5th Set Aside:
(Rural - 20%)

C

C

C

C

C

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

C

C

C

C

C

5th Set Aside:
(Infrastructure - 2%)

C

C

C

C

C

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

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 54,833. 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 September, 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

Current

Except: Algeria 45,000
Egypt 43,200
Morocco 63,400

ASIA

21,000

Except: Iran 16,000
Nepal 21,000

EUROPE

32,000

Except: Russia 32,000
Uzbekistan 17,000

NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 

Current

OCEANIA

2,500

SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN

3,150

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 OCTOBER

For October, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2024 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

10,000

Except: Algeria 7,500
Egypt 5,500
Morocco 5,600

ASIA

2,000

Except: Iran 1,750
Nepal 1,300

EUROPE

4,500

Except: Russia 4,400
Uzbekistan 1,250

NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 

2

OCEANIA

225

SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN

375

D. DIVERSITY VISA LOTTERY 2024 (DV-2024) RESULTS

The Kentucky Consular Center in Williamsburg, Kentucky has registered and notified the selectees who are eligible to participate in the DV-2024 Diversity Visa (DV) program. Random selection of DV participants was conducted under the terms of section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which makes up to *55,000 permanent resident visas available annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Approximately 143,000 prospective applicants (i.e., selectees and their spouses and children) have been registered, can confirm their selection, and may be eligible to make an application for an immigrant visa. Since selection is random and blind to the number of family members who might immigrate with the selectee, and it is likely that some of the selectees will not complete their cases or will be found ineligible for a visa, this larger figure should ensure that all DV-2024 numbers can be used during fiscal year 2024 (FY24: October 1, 2023, until September 30, 2024).

Entrants registered for the DV-2024 program were selected at random from 22,185,619 qualified entries received during the 35-day application period that ran from noon, Eastern Daylight Time on Wednesday, October 5, 2022, until noon, Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, November 8, 2022. The visas will be apportioned among the six geographic regions to ensure a maximum of seven percent are issued to persons chargeable to any single country. During the visa interview, principal applicants must provide proof of a high school education or its equivalent, or two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience within the past five years. Those selected will need to act on their immigrant visa applications quickly. Applicants should follow the instructions in their notification letter and must fully complete all required steps.

Selectees who are physically present with legal status in the United States may apply to adjust their status by first contacting the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for information on the requirements and procedures. Once the total *55,000 visa numbers have been used, the program for fiscal year 2024 will end. Selectees who do not receive visas or status by September 30, 2024, will derive no further benefit from their DV-2024 registration. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2024 principal applicants are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2024.

Dates for the DV-2025 program registration period will be widely publicized in the coming months. Those interested in entering the DV-2025 program should check the Department of State’s Diversity Visa web page in the coming months.

*The Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997 stipulated that up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas be made available for use under the NACARA program. This will result in reduction of the DV-2024 annual limit to approximately 54,850.

The following is the statistical breakdown by foreign state of chargeability of those registered for the DV-2024 program: 

AFRICA

ALGERIA 5,142

ERITREA 211

MOZAMBIQUE 7

ANGOLA 582

ESWATINI 2

NAMIBIA 10

BENIN 1,002

ETHIOPIA 3,034

NIGER 93

BOTSWANA 16

GABON 86

RWANDA 1,604

BURKINA FASO 191

GAMBIA, THE 156

SENEGAL 504

BURUNDI 876

GHANA 2,088

SIERRA LEONE 735

CABO VERDE 15

GUINEA 1,362

SOMALIA 2,383

CAMEROON 3,485

GUINEA-BISSAU 21

SOUTH AFRICA 199

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC 30

KENYA 3,760

SOUTH SUDAN 59

CHAD 490

LIBERIA 2,208

SUDAN 5,435

COMOROS 10

LIBYA 257

TANZANIA 348

CONGO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE 2,580

MADAGASCAR 25

TOGO 2,105

CONGO, REPUBLIC OF THE 660

MALAWI 42

TUNISIA 221

COTE D’IVOIRE 672

MALI 119

UGANDA 1,515

DJIBOUTI 333

MAURITANIA 274

ZAMBIA 85

EGYPT 5,509

MAURITIUS 4

ZIMBABWE 216

EQUATORIAL GUINEA 19

MOROCCO 4,250

ASIA

AFGHANISTAN 4,536

JORDAN 1,188

SAUDI ARABIA 619

BAHRAIN 8

KUWAIT 162

SINGAPORE 6

BHUTAN 347

LAOS 27

SRI LANKA 2,622

BURMA 1,667

LEBANON 214

SYRIA 692

CAMBODIA 340

MALAYSIA 32

TAIWAN 279

INDONESIA 104

MALDIVES 1

THAILAND 467

IRAN 5,077

MONGOLIA 300

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 211

IRAQ 1,348

NEPAL 3,863

YEMEN 3,485

ISRAEL 71

OMAN 20

JAPAN 200

QATAR 74

EUROPE

ALBANIA 2,667

GREECE 66

NORWAY 9

ANDORRA 2

HUNGARY 102

POLAND 497

ARMENIA 3,869

ICELAND 5

PORTUGAL 39

AUSTRIA 34

IRELAND 18

Macau 4

AZERBAIJAN 2,046

ITALY 256

ROMANIA 267

BELARUS 2,418

KAZAKHSTAN 2,728

RUSSIA 5,514

BELGIUM 35

KOSOVO 463

SERBIA 186

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA 31

KYRGYZSTAN 4,464

SLOVAKIA 33

BULGARIA 142

LATVIA 97

SLOVENIA 2

CROATIA 30

LITHUANIA 106

SPAIN 137

CYPRUS 25

MALTA 1

SWEDEN 31

CZECH REPUBLIC 46

MOLDOVA 950

SWITZERLAND 30

DENMARK 16

MONACO 1

TAJIKISTAN 3,580

ESTONIA 33

MONTENEGRO 21

TURKEY 3,684

FINLAND 29

NETHERLANDS 39

TURKMENISTAN 1,313

FRANCE 327

Aruba 1

UKRAINE 4,286

French Polynesia 1

Curacao 1

UZBEKISTAN 5,555

New Caledonia 4

Sint Maarten 1

GEORGIA 3,194

NORTH MACEDONIA 258

GERMANY 466

NORTHERN IRELAND 1

NORTH AMERICA

BAHAMAS, THE 15

OCEANIA

AUSTRALIA 795

NAURU 32

SOLOMON ISLANDS 22

Christmas Island 1

NEW ZEALAND 256

TONGA 246

Cocos Keeling Islands 3

Cook Islands 69

TUVALU 11

FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA 1

PAPUA NEW GUINEA 15

VANUATU 29

FIJI 2,936

REPUBLIC OF PALAU 4

KIRABATI 21

SAMOA 9

SOUTH AMERICA

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA 1

CUBA 3,081

PARAGUAY 9

ARGENTINA 127

DOMINICA 6

PERU 742

BARBADOS 4

ECUADOR 814

SAINT LUCIA 3

BELIZE 5

GUATEMALA 146

SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES 2

BOLIVIA 85

GUYANA 9

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO 37

CHILE 51

NICARAGUA 117

URUGUAY 7

COSTA RICA 68

PANAMA 17

Natives of the following countries were not eligible to participate in DV-2024: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (including Hong Kong SAR), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

E. AVAILABILITY OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISAS DURING SEPTEMBER

Employment-based number use by both USCIS and Department of State has been steady during the fiscal year. As a result, most employment-based preference category limits and/or the overall employment-based preference limit for FY 2023 are expected to be reached during September. 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. 

F. DETERMINATION OF THE NUMERICAL LIMITS ON IMMIGRANTS REQUIRED UNDER THE TERMS OF THE IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT (INA)

The State Department is required to make the determination of the worldwide numerical limitations, as outlined in Section 201(c) and (d) of the INA, on an annual basis. These calculations are based in part on data provided by U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) regarding the number of immediate relative adjustments in the preceding year and the number of aliens paroled into the United States under Section 212(d)(5) in the second preceding year. Without this information, it is impossible to make an official determination of the annual limits. To avoid delays in processing while waiting for the USCIS data, the Visa Office (VO) bases allocations on reasonable estimates of the anticipated amount of visa numbers to be available under the annual limits, in accordance with Section 203(g) of the INA. On August 2nd, USCIS provided the required data to the VO.

The Department of State has determined the Family and Employment preference numerical limits for FY-2023 in accordance with the terms of Section 201 of the INA. These numerical limitations for FY-2023 are as follows:

Worldwide Family-Sponsored preference limit: 226,000
Worldwide Employment-Based preference limit: 197,091

Under INA Section 202(a), the per-country limit is fixed at 7% of the family and employment annual limits. For FY-2023 the per-country limit is 29,616. The dependent area annual limit is 2%, or 8,462.

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

Department of State Publication 9514

CA/VO: August 4, 2023