Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 98081158 (posted Aug. 11, 1998)"
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
VISA BULLETIN Number 91
IMMIGRANT NUMBERS FOR SEPTEMBER 1998
A. STATUTORY NUMBERS
1. This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during September.
Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily
qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; the Immigration and
Naturalization Service reports applicants for adjustment of status. Allocations were
made, to the extent possible under the numerical limitations, for the demand received
by August 10th in the chronological order of the reported priority dates. If the
demand could not be satisfied within the statutory or regulatory limits, the category
or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed. The cut-off date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant
who could not be reached within the numerical limits. Only applicants who have a
priority date earlier than the cut-off date may be allotted a number. Immediately
that it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a cut-off date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the priority date
falls within the new cut-off date.
2. The fiscal year 1998 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 1998 limit for employment-based preference immigrants
calculated under INA 201 is 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 for
FY-1998. The dependent area limit is set at 2%, or 7,320.
3. Section 203 of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of immigrant
visas as follows:
First: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of 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, and any unused first preference numbers:
A. Spouses and Children: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which
75% are exempt from the per-country limit;
B. Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older): 23% of the overall
second preference limitation.
Third: Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not
required by first and second preferences.
Fourth: Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not
required by first three 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, not less than 3,000 of
which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and
3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of P.L. 102-395.
4. 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.
5. 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 available
for all qualified applicants; and "U" means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are
available. (NOTE: Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date is
earlier than the cut-off date listed below.)
ability Areas CHINA-
Except Those mainland
Listed born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st 22MAY97 22MAY97 22MAY97 01AUG93 15MAR87
2A* 08MAR94 08MAR94 08MAR94 01APR93 08MAR94
2B 01JAN92 01JAN92 01JAN92 01JUL91 01JAN92
3rd 22FEB95 22FEB95 22FEB95 15JAN90 01MAR87
4th 22JAN88 22JAN88 08MAR86 01AUG87 22JUN78
*NOTE: For September, 2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to
applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 01APR93. 2A numbers
SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries
EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 01APR93 and earlier than 08MAR94. (All
2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit; there are no
2A numbers for MEXICO subject to per-country limit.)
ability Areas CHINA-
Except Those mainland
Listed born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C 01NOV97 C C C
2nd C 08MAY96 01MAY97 C C
3rd C 01SEP94 01DEC95 C C
Other 01FEB92 01FEB92 01FEB92 01FEB92 01FEB92
4th C C C C C
Certain C C C C C
5th C C C C C
Targeted Employ- C C C C C
The Department of State has available a recorded message with visa availability
information which can be heard at (202) 663-1541. This recording will be updated in
the middle of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.
B. DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY
Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides 55,000 immigrant
visas each fiscal year to permit immigration opportunities for persons from
countries other than the principal sources of current immigration to the United
States. DV visas are divided among six geographic regions. Not more than 3,850
visas (7% of the 55,000 visa limit) may be provided to immigrants from any one
For September, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-98
applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries on a "CURRENT" basis.
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-98 program
ends as of September 30, 1998. DV visas may not be issued to DV-98 applicants after
that date. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following
to join DV-98 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September
30, 1998. DV visa availability through the very end of FY-1998 cannot be taken for
granted. Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30. Once all numbers
provided by law for the DV-98 program have been used, no further issuances will be
C. RETROGRESSION OF THE WORLDWIDE FAMILY FOURTH PREFERENCE CUT-OFF DATE
As readers were alerted in Visa Bulletin number 89, the Worldwide Family Fourth
preference category is close to the annual limit for fiscal year 1998.
Therefore, it has been necessary to retrogress the cut-off date for September to
keep visa issuances within the numerical limit. This cut-off date can be
expected to begin forward movement once again in October, the first month of the
new fiscal year.
D. FUTURE AVAILABILITY OF CHINA-MAINLAND BORN EMPLOYMENT FIFTH (INVESTOR)
PREFERENCE VISA NUMBERS
The Chinese Student Protection Act requires that 1,000 numbers be deducted from each
year's CHINA-mainland born per-country limit to cover cases processed under that
legislation. A total of 300 numbers are deducted from the CHINA-mainland born
Employment Third preference category, and 700 from the Employment Fifth preference
category. The reduction in the Employment Fifth preference limit will eliminate all
of the numbers ordinarily available to that category for FY-1999. As a result, the
CHINA-mainland born investor category could be "Unavailable" for October, since visa
number availability in this category will depend on the extent to which numbers
unused by other categories fall to the Employment Fifth preference.
OBTAINING THE MONTHLY VISA BULLETIN: The Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs offers the monthly Visa Bulletin on the Internet's
World Wide Web. The Internet web address to access the Bulletin is:
From the home page, select the Visa section which contains the Visa Bulletin.
In addition to the Internet, the Visa Bulletin can be accessed and downloaded from
the Consular Affairs electronic bulletin board. Those with a computer and modem
should dial (301) 946-4400. The login is travel; the password is info. No special
software is required.
Individuals may also obtain the Visa Bulletin by fax. From a fax phone, dial (202)
647-3000. Follow the prompts and enter in the code 1038 to have each Bulletin
(The Department of State also has available a recorded message with visa cut-off
dates which can be heard at (202) 663-1541. The recording is updated in the middle
of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.)
To be placed on the Department of State's Visa Bulletin mailing list or to change an
address, please write to:
Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20522-0106
Only addresses within the U.S. postal system may be placed on the mailing list.
Please include a recent mailing label when reporting changes or corrections of
address; the Postal Service does NOT automatically notify the Visa Office of address
changes. (Obtaining the Visa Bulletin by mail is a much slower option than any of
the alternatives mentioned above.)
The Visa Bulletin can also be contacted by e-mail at the following address:
(The Visa Bulletin is not distributed by e-mail, however.)
Department of State Publication 9514
CA/VO:August 10, 1998
© 1999, American Immigration Lawyers Association