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July 2024 Visa Bulletin: Key Updates and What They Mean for You

Posted by Karol Brown | Jun 24, 2024 | 0 Comments

June 24, 2024

By Karol Brown, Managing Immigration Attorney for World One Law Group

The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs released the July 2024 Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletin provides crucial updates on immigrant visa availability for both family-based and employment-based categories. This blog post will help you understand the key changes from this visa availability chart. 

We will also explain what these charts mean for applicants for permanent residency to the United States of America. We will provide guidance on navigating the complex visa process to the United States. We will define words like “priority date”, “visa availability”, “final action dates” and “Dates for Filing” charts. 

This article will provide insights into visa wait times for people from different countries, in different categories, for beneficiaries of both family I-130 Immigrant Petitions and employment I-140 Immigrant Petitions for Alien Workers.

Understanding the Visa Bulletin

Flag with green card

The Visa Bulletin is a monthly publication by the Department of State (DOS) that outlines the availability of immigrant visas. The monthly Visa Bulletin includes two main charts for employment-based applications and two for family-based categories: one for the “Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications”. 

The Final Action Dates chart indicates when visas may be issued or an adjustment of status application may be approved, if the beneficiary is living within the United States. 

The Dates for Filing Applications chart specifies when applicants can submit required documentation. This US permanent residency process may be filed inside the United States through the adjustment of status process. You may also file for your “green card” from outside the United States with consular process. 

How Does My Country of Birth Affect My Wait Times for my Immigrant Visa or Green Card?

The wait times for an immigrant visa to become available depend on the family or employment category of your application, and the country of birth for the beneficiary or their spouse. 

Beneficiaries who were born in some countries, particularly those with large populations or high rates of immigration to the United States, have long wait times. This is because US immigration law limits the number of visas to any one country to 7% of all visas issued in a year. This discriminatory policy impacts nationals of India, China, Philippines, and Mexico. If your country of birth is not listed, you can look to the first column labelled “All Other Countries” for your visa wait times.

Key Updates in the July 2024 Visa Bulletin for Green Card Applicants

There are two primary categories for permanent residency in the United States that is tracked with the Visa Bulletin July 2024. 

  • The first category listed are the Family-Based Categories (or “FB”). Family petitions for permanent residency are generally filed with an I-130 Immigrant Petition for Alien Family Member. 

  • The second category lists Employment-Based Categories (or "EB"). Employment based applications for permanent residency start with either the PERM Labor Certification Application or the I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.

 

What Family Members of US Citizens or Permanent Residents Can Apply for Green Cards?

Family members of US citizens can include spouses and minor children and parents. Those relatives are not listed on these charts because these family members are “immediate relatives” and there are no wait times for these family relations. 

Other family members of US citizens that can get permanent residency include:

  • Unmarried children of US citizens
    (family based first preference category)

  • Married children of US citizens
    (family based third preference category)

  • Siblings (brothers and sisters) of US citizens
    (family based fourth preference category)

Family relations who can benefit from an I-130 Immigrant Petition can also include the spouse and unmarried children of US permanent residents. These family relationships of green card holders are in the family based second preference category. This second category is divided into Part A and Part B in the second category for families.

  • Spouses and minor children of US Permanent Residents
    (family based second 2A preference category)

  • Unmarried adult children of US Permanent Residents
    (family based second 2B preference category)

Each type of family relationship category has different priorities under US immigration law.

Family-Based Preference Categories for US Permanent Residency for July 2024

The July 2024 Visa Bulletin includes several updates for family-based preference categories.

Visas are available for approval of an I485 Adjustment of Status application or the issuance of an immigrant visa at a US embassy if your “priority date” is earlier than the date listed on the chart below. Your priority date is listed on the I-130 Immigrant Petition's receipt notice or approval notice. You will also see your family-based petition category listed on this Form I-797 Approval Notice or Receipt Notice. 

 

Final Action Dates for Family-Sponsored Preference Cases

Family 

Sponsored

All Other Countries Except Those Listed

CHINA 

(born on the mainland)

INDIA 

MEXICO 

PHILIPPINES

F1 1st Preference (unmarried adult child of US citizen) 

September 1, 2017 

September 1, 2017 

September 1, 2017 

April 1, 2005 

April 22, 2015

F2A 2nd Preference - A (spouse and minor child of permanent resident)

November 1, 2023 

November 1, 2023

November 1, 2023

November 1, 2023

November 1, 2023

F2B 2nd Preference - B (unmarried adult child of permanent resident)

January 1, 2017 

January 1, 2017 

January 1, 2017 

May 1, 2005

October 1, 2013

F3 3rd Preference (married adult child of US citizen)

October 1, 2010 

October 1, 2010

October 1, 2010

June 15, 2001 

November 8, 2003

F4 4th Preference (brother or sister of US citizen)

March 1, 2008 

March 1, 2008

June 15, 2006 

April 28, 2001 

April 1, 2006

 

What Does This Visa Bulletin July 2024 Chart Mean for Family Beneficiaries of an I-130 Immigrant Petition?

  • F1 (Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens): The Final Action Date for most countries is September 1, 2017, with Mexico (April 1, 2005) and the Philippines (April 22, 2015) as exceptions.

  • F2A (Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents): The date is November 1, 2023, for all countries, indicating no backlog.

  • F2B (Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents): The Final Action Date is January 1, 2017, for most countries, with Mexico (May 1, 2005) and the Philippines (October 1, 2013) as exceptions.

  • F3 (Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens): The date is October 1, 2010, except for Mexico (June 15, 2001) and the Philippines (November 8, 2003).

  • F4 (Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens): The date is March 1, 2008, with exceptions for India (June 15, 2006), Mexico (April 28, 2001), and the Philippines (April 1, 2006).

 

Employment-Based Preference Categories for US Permanent Residency for July 2024

The July 2024 Visa Bulletin includes several updates for employment-based preference categories.

Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases

Employment Based (PERM & I140 Immigrant Petitions)

All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed

China (Mainland Born)

India

Mexico

Philippines

EB-1
1st Preference Category (Extraordinary Ability EB1A, Outstanding Professor Researcher EB1B, Multinational Manager & Executive EB1C)

Current -
No waiting

November 1, 2022

February 1, 2022

Current - No waiting

Current - No waiting

EB-2
2nd Preference Category (Advanced Degree, Bachelor's + 5 years experience, or National Interest Waiver with Adv. Degree)

March 15, 2023

March 1, 2020

June 15, 2012

March 15, 2023

March 15, 2023

EB-3
3rd Preference Category (Bachlor's degree with less than 5 years experience, Skilled Workers 2+ years experience)

December 1, 2021

September 1, 2020

September 22, 2012

December 1, 2021

December 1, 2021

Other Workers (less than 2 years of experience post high school)

January 1, 2021

January 1, 2017

September 22, 2012

January 1, 2021

May 1, 2020

EB-4
4th Preference Category and Religious Workers

January 1, 2021

January 1, 2021

January 1, 2021

January 1, 2021

January 1, 2021

EB-5 Unreserved including (including C5, T5, I5, R5)

Current - No waiting

December 15, 2015

December 1, 2020

Current - No waiting

Current - No waiting

EB-5 Set Asides (including Rural, high unemployment, infrastructure)

Current -
No waiting

Current -
No waiting

Current - No waiting

Current - No waiting

Current - No waiting

 

What Does the July 2024 Visa Bulletin Mean for Green Card Applicants in Family and Employment Categories?

We can analyze the information on the Visa Bulletin for July 2024 to determine what it means for applicants in both the family petition categories and in the employment-based categories for permanent residency.

What is the Priority Date for my permanent residency application?

Your priority date is the crucial date to determine whether an immigrant visa will be available to you. Your priority date is the date when your I-130 immigrant petition (family), the date when your PERM Labor Certification Application was submitted, or the I-140 immigrant petition (employment) was filed. 

You can only move forward with your application for permanent residency when your priority date is earlier than the date listed in the visa bulletin for the current month.

How can I determine whether an Immigrant Visa is available for me in the July 2024 Visa Bulletin?

To determine whether an immigrant visa is available in July 2024, you must look at either the family or the employment based chart. The visa bulletin indicates whether visas are available in your category. If there are limits, the chart lists a date. Your priority date must be earlier than the date in the chart for your category and country of birth to file the next step or have your permanent residency status be approved.

If your category is marked with "C" (or Current - no waiting on our charts), an immigrant visa is available for all applicants. You should contact us to proceed with filing your I-485 Adjustment of Status Application or the DS-260 Immigrant Visa Application with the National Visa Center to begin the process of scheduling an interview at the US embassy for your immigrant visa stamp.

What are the wait times for an immigrant visa in my category and country of birth?

To calculate the wait times for an immigrant visa to become available to you, you can look at the dates listed in the July 2024 Visa Bulletin. That date can help you estimate how long you might wait for an immigrant visa to become available. 

Show Me an Example of Searching for Visa Cut-Off Date on the Visa Bulletin

Let's look at a specific example to find the visa wait time or visa cut-off date in this month's July 2024 Visa Bulletin. 

In this example, you are the unmarried adult child of a US citizen. You would be in the family-based first preference category, also called the FB1 visa category. Let's say that your US citizen parent filed the I-130 Immigrant Petition for you on October 22, 2015. This family based FB1 category and your priority date is listed on the I-130 Immigrant Petition receipt notice and on the I-130 Immigrant Petition approval notice.

The date of filing the I-130 petition is your priority date for family-based petitions. In this case, your priority date is October 22, 2015. If you look at the Visa Bulletin for the family-based categories, you will see the following dates for the first preference category's “Final Action Date” chart.

Family 

Sponsored

All Other Countries Except Those Listed

CHINA 

(born on the mainland)

INDIA 

MEXICO 

PHILIPPINES

F1
1st Preference (unmarried adult child of US citizen) 

September 1, 2017 

September 1, 2017 

September 1, 2017 

April 1, 2005 

April 22, 2015

 

You are eligible for approval of an immigrant visa or adjustment of status if your priority date is earlier than the date listed in the Visa Bulletin for All Other Countries (September 1, 2017), China (September 1, 2017), and India (September 1, 2017). In this example, your priority date is October 22, 2015

For this example, you would be able to be approved for your I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status or approved for your immigrant visa stamp at the US embassy if you were born in any country other than Mexico or the Philippines. Your priority date of October 22, 2015 is earlier than September 1, 2017 for those countries of birth.

If you were born in Mexico, you may have to wait 10 or more years for an immigrant visa to become available as the unmarried adult child of a US citizen. This is because the Visa Bulletin for July 2024 shows a cut-off date of April 1, 2005. That is a long way from your priority date of October 22, 2015. 

If you were born in the Philippines, you may only have to wait only a few more months for approval of your “green card” in this example. The cut-off date of April 22, 2015 on the July 2024 Visa Bulletin for those born in the Philippines is close to your priority date of October 22, 2015. So you may only have to wait a few more months for that date to move past your priority date and your green card case can be approved!

Tips for Navigating the Visa Bulletin

We have several tips for people who are looking at the Visa Bulletin to determine whether an immigrant visa is available to you and your family for permanent residency in the United States.

  1. Monitor the Visa Bulletin Regularly

If you are an applicant for permanent residency in the United States, and subject to the limits of the family or employment based visa categories, check the Visa Bulletin every month for updates that could affect your application.

  1. Schedule an Immigration Consultation with an Experienced World One Law Group Attorney

Speak with an experienced U.S. immigration attorney at World One Law Group to develop a personalized strategy for obtaining permanent residency, US citizenship, or temporary visas to the United States. We can help you understand how changes in the visa bulletin, career, family situation, or residence could impact your specific case and timelines.

Contact our experienced team today at World1Law.com or complete the form at http://world1law.com/contact.html to schedule your personalized, one-hour consultation for $250. That amount will be applied toward the payment of your immigration legal fees, if you decide to hire us as your immigration attorneys.

If you complete the online form on our website, you will receive an email and/or text message with a link to schedule a time that works for you. You will then receive an invoice by email and text to pay the consultation fee prior to our meeting.

  1. Get Your Documentation Ready for Filing for Your Green Card. 

If you are applying for permanent residency, you can help speed up the process by obtaining all required documents and applying for birth certificates, police certificates, marriage certificates, divorce or death decrees, adoption records, court documents, and other necessary materials.  You want to be sure that you are ready for submission when your priority date becomes current.

We can send you a complete checklist of documents for your type of case after you complete a consultation with World One Law Group.

  1. Check the USCIS Website for Additional Instructions on Which Chart to Use for Filing I-485 Adjustment Applications

Before filing any application while inside the United States, you should visit the USCIS website for additional instructions. The monthly Visa Bulletin will include a link to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) to determine whether to use the Final Action Dates chart or the Dates for Filing Applications chart in your situation.

Visa Bulletin July 2024 Predictions vs. Reality

Before the release of the July 2024 Visa Bulletin, there were several predictions about visa availability and priority date movements. Comparing these predictions with the actual updates helps provide insights into the accuracy of forecasting and the factors influencing these changes.

For example, many experts anticipated more significant advancements in the Employment-Based Second Preference Category (“EB2”) and Employment-Based Third Preference Category (“EB3”) categories for India and China. Unfortunately, the actual progress was more modest for EB2 and EB3 Indians and Chinese nationals. 

Call Your Congress Member if You Are Stuck in Long Visa Wait Lines!

Congress building

The long wait in these categories should be addressed by Congress by finally passing comprehensive immigration reform. This policy limiting immigrant visas to 7% discriminates for no valid reason against countries with large populations. It makes no sense from the perspective of  international relations, foreign policy, national security, or human rights. 

Call your Member of Congress to demand changes if you are stuck in this line! Tell them that you want comprehensive immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship that is fair and reasonable. People who have lived in the United States for a certain number of years should be automatically granted permanent residency within a reasonable time limit! 

Congress needs to hear from you. Congress members already hear from people who listen to anti-immigrant rhetoric. 

Conclusions about the July 2024 Visa Bulletin

The July 2024 Visa Bulletin brings significant updates that affect many prospective immigrants. Understanding these changes is crucial for navigating the immigration process effectively. 

Stay informed, keep track of your priority date, and consult with US immigration law professionals to ensure a smooth journey towards obtaining your green card and permanent residency.

If you want to learn more about the Visa Bulletin and how it impacts your application for permanent residency, Book a Consultation for an immigration attorney with World One Law Group today!

About the Author

Karol Brown

Managing Attorney

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