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Visa Bulletin for September 1998

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs

Volume VII
Washington, D.C.



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.)


	          All Charge-

	          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.)

	          All Charge-

	          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 

    ment Areas/

    Regional Centers

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.


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 country.

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 possible.


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.


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 faxed.

(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:

Visa Bulletin
Visa Office
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

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 98081158.