The Visa Bulletin summarizes immigrant numbers for each month for “Final Action Dates” and “Date for Filing Applications”. The “Date for Filing” determines whether you can submit the final application for attaining a visa. Similarly, the “Final Action Date” indicates whether a visa number is expected to be available. Usually, the “Date for Filing” is before the “Final Action Date”. This means that people seeking a visa can submit an application for permanent residence before it is possible for the government to approve the application.
How to Read the Visa Bulletin
Understanding how to read the Visa Bulletin can seem difficult; however, the good news is that once you understand what you are looking at, it is fairly simple. You will need to know two things to know if you can claim your visa.
1. Priority Date
To find your priority date, you should review the I-797 Notice of Action (I-30 Approval Notice). This should be in the top section of the document labeled “Priority Date”.
2. Family-Preference Category
Additionally, you must also know your family preference category. Your relationship with the person who filed your petition determines your family preference category. Use the chart below to determine your family preference category:
F1: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters (age 21 or over) of U.S. citizens
F2A: Spouses and unmarried children (under 21) of permanent residents
F2B: Unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents
F3: Married sons and daughters (any age) of U.S. citizens
F4: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens
3. Reading the Bulletin
Once you find your family category, find the date in the chart. If your priority date is before the date in the chart, then you can claim your visa!
Final Action Dates for Family-Sponsored Preference Cases
Dates for Filing Family-Sponsored Visa Applications