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US Visa Bulletin: An Breakdown for Indians, June 2024

US Visa Bulletin
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Navigating the complexities of immigration procedures can be daunting, especially when deciphering the context and implications of the US Visa Bulletin. The June 2024 edition brings a mix of news for Indian applicants eyeing employment-based green cards. In this article, we’ll break down what this means for prospective immigrants from India using key insights and taking a deeper look at priority dates and application processes referenced within the Visa Bulletin.

Decoding the Priority Dates System

At the heart of the US Visa Bulletin are priority dates. These critical timestamps act as placeholders in the queue for securing a US green card. For Indian nationals seeking to adjust their status or apply for an immigrant visa, understanding these dates is vital.

Dates for Filing: Your First Move Towards Permanent Residency

The ‘Dates for Filing’ column is essentially your signal to act. If your individual priority date falls on or precedes the dates listed, congratulations—you’re eligible to submit your paperwork. For Indian applicants in June 2024, this means cross-referencing your priority date with those specified in the US Visa Bulletin. This step is instrumental, as it sets you on track for further progress in the green card application process.

Final Action Dates: Estimating Your Wait Time

While Dates for Filing indicate when you may take action, ‘Final Action Dates’ provide an estimate of when that action might bear fruit. The disparity between these two sets of dates offers a glimpse into anticipated processing times by USCIS. For Indian hopefuls in June 2024, no shifts have occurred in expectations since these dates have remained static.

Employee-Based Category Considerations

When it comes to employment-based categories—whether EB-1, EB-2, EB-3 or EB-5—the June 2024 US Visa Bulletin underscores a stagnant phase with unchanged final action dates for all countries including India and China. Specifically, Indian nationals should note that the EB-1 category lists March 1, 2021, as their cut-off date.

Key Takeaways for Indians: Navigating USCIS Processes

Understanding this information is just half the battle; acting on it effectively is crucial. To leverage the June 2024 US Visa Bulletin information optimally:

  1. Verify your priority date against both ‘Dates for Filing’ and ‘Final Action Dates’.
  2. Stay alert to any changes in subsequent US Visa Bulletins that can influence your application.
  3. Be proactive in preparing your documentation so you can act swiftly once your filing date arrives.

Advancements in Family-Based Visa Preference Categories as of June 2024

The latest updates from the June 2024 US Visa Bulletin bring promising news for families, indicating notable progress across the board for family-based preference categories. It’s crucial to understand the nuances of each category to navigate the immigration process effectively.

F1 Category Positive Movements

The F1 preference category, encompassing unmarried sons and daughters of US citizens, shows a moderate progression. For Mexico, there’s an encouraging leap forward by over two months, positioning priority dates at January 1, 2002. Excluding Mexico and the Philippines, dates hold steady at July 8, 2015. The Philippines sees no change, remaining at March 1, 2012.

Steady Advancement in F2A Preferences

Spouses and children of permanent residents within the F2A category are witnessing continued progress. Mexican applicants see a near three-month advance to February 1, 2021. There’s a more significant five-month and two-week shift to November 15, 2021, for the rest of the world.

Developments in F2B: A Closer Look

Unmarried sons and daughters (21 years or older) of permanent residents under F2B experience variable movement. Dates for Mexico proceed by four months and one week to July 8, 2004. The Philippines’ dates stay at October 22, 2011, while other regions maintain their priority date at April 1, 2016.

F3: Advancements for Married Sons and Daughters of US Citizens

Everyone within this category can look forward to forward steps in priority dates across all regions. Worldwide dates navigate ahead by more than two months to March 1, 2010. Mexican nationals see a substantial leap over four months to December 1, 1999. For Filipinos, the advance is a smaller yet positive three weeks to August 22, 2002.

F4 Category Shifts Forward

The final family preference category—F4—for brothers and sisters of adult US citizens experiences an incremental shift from December 15, 2005, to January 15, 2006.

Employment-Based Preference Categories in U.S. Immigration

The United States offers various employment-based (EB) preference categories for individuals seeking to immigrate based on their job skills, investments, and unique abilities. Each category is designed to cater to different professional environments and investment expectations. Here’s a detailed breakdown of these categories.

  1. 1st Preference: EB-1, Priority Workers

The EB-1 category constitutes 28.6% of the global employment-based preference level and is intended for priority workers. These include individuals with extraordinary abilities, outstanding professors and researchers, as well as multinational executives and managers.

  1. 2nd Preference: EB-2, Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability

Similar to the EB-1, the EB-2 also accounts for 28.6% of the global level. This preference is reserved for professionals with advanced degrees or individuals with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business.

  1. 3rd Preference: EB-3, Skilled Workers and Professionals

Taking up another 28.6% of the global quota, the EB-3 category welcomes skilled workers, professionals, and other workers who may not have advanced degrees but are equipped with at least two years of work experience or training.

  1. 4th Preference: EB-4, Special Immigrants

EB-4 encompasses a variety of immigrant groups, including special immigrants like religious workers. Their global quota is set at 7.1%.

  1. 5th Preference: EB-5, Investors

Investment-centric immigration falls under the EB-5 category, making up the final 7.1% of the allocation. This category has specific allotments for rural and high unemployment areas as well as infrastructure projects.

Each employment-based green card preference category comes with its own set of allocations and restrictions that are influenced by factors such as country-specific caps and annual limits. For instance, during financial year 2024, every country can receive no more than 7% (25,620 visas) from a total of nearly 140,000 employment-based preference visas.

Application Process and Final Action Dates

Prospective applicants must closely follow the “Final Action Dates” announced by USCIS to understand when they might be able to proceed with their application process. Current USCIS guidelines should be regularly reviewed especially when there are more visas available than applicants—a scenario which may allow for earlier filing opportunities.

For those from India considering employment-based green cards:

  • For EB-1, Final Action Dates remain unchanged at March 1, 2021.
  • The EB-2 cut-off date is April 15, 2012.
  • Both EB-3 and Other Workers are holding steady at August 15, 2012.
  • EB-4 and Certain Religious Workers have moved to November 1, 2020.
  • The EB-5 category shows variations; some remain current indicating visa availability.

By staying informed and prepared, Indian applicants can navigate the complexities of the US immigration system more effectively, making the most of the opportunities presented by the June 2024 US Visa Bulletin. Understanding and acting upon the information in the US Visa Bulletin is key to successfully securing employment-based green cards.

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