CRISPIN R. ARANDA

UNTIL 2011, the cut-off dates for the EB3 and OW had been different. The EB3 had always been ahead. But in 2013, the EB3 cut-off date was 08 December 2005 while the OW was three months back, September 15 of the same year.

I am sharing the priority dates for the family-sponsored preference categories for Philippine visa applicants so they would know how fast the visa dates had been moving as a guide on when their interview dates would likely come or if they have already missed it.

There had been cases where the principal visa applicant (the family member being petitioned did not receive a notice from the State Department either because he or she had moved to another address but failed to notify the National Visa Center or the US Embassy about the current address.

In some instances, the notice had been sent but either got lost in the mailbox or someone took it intentionally or by mistake.

In some instances, the notice had been sent but either got lost in the mailbox or someone took it intentionally or by mistake.

Starting 2012, the EB3 and OW cut off dates had been the same.

Family-sponsored preferences
The cap for each category is also shown. The State Department allocates 25,620 per country from the annual total of 366,000, broken down into 226,000 for the Family-sponsored and 140,000 for the Employment-based.

The spouse, minor children and parent of a US citizen are not subject to the annual numerical limits. The result is that the US issues approximately 1 million permanent resident visas every year,

First: (F1) Unmarried sons and daughters of US 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, plus any unused first preference numbers:

(F2A) Spouses and children of permanent residents: 77 percent of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75 percent are exempt from the per-country limit;

B. (F2B) Unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age or older) of permanent residents: 23 percent of the overall second preference limitation.

Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth: (F4) Brothers and sisters of adult US citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

Employment-based preferences
First (EB1): Priority workers: 28.6 percent of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

Second (EB2): Members of the professions holding advanced degrees or persons of exceptional ability: 28.6 percentof the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.

Third (EB3 and OW): Skilled workers, professionals, and other workers: 28.6 percent 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 (EB4): Certain special Immigrants: 7.1 percent of the worldwide level.

Fifth (EB5): Employment creation: 7.1 percent 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 Pub. L. 102-395

For the years included in the accompanying table, the EB1, EB, EB4 and EB 5 categories for Philippine applicants had been current (“C”), i.e., visas are available.

In October 2015, the State Department started issuing two charts for each of the classes in the Family and Employment-sponsored categories: one showing the cut-off dates for visa petitions that are already current (and therefore, visa numbers are already available) and another showing the cut-off dates in each class indicating that the principal applicant could start the visa application process even if the priority date is not yet current.

Over the five-year period, the fastest moving category was the F1 which moved 5 years and 5 months, followed by the F5 (4 years and 3 months); F2B – 3 years, 11 months. Bringing up the rear were the F2A and F3 at approximately 2 years 1 month each.

Surprisingly, the EB3 and OWs accelerated the fastest, moving almost 9 years within the five-year period.

Possible reasons for the fast-forward movement of the F1?

A significant number of visa applicants in this category had married which automatically changed their category to F3. This seems to be validated by the slow movement of the brothers and sisters of adult US citizens.

As for the F4, principal applicants have more siblings than spouse so brothers and sisters filing petitions for their brothers and sisters added to the already long queue.

The temporary partnership between US President Donald Trump and Democratic Party leaders Charles Schumer and Nancy Pelosi on the DACA Dreamers should not lull US citizen sons and daughters into procrastination hoping that the proposed bill (backed by Trump) to eliminate the parent category would not pass into law,

Hasta la visa, Baby.

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About the Author

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.


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