What Information Is Available on the Visa Bulletin From the U.S. Department of State?


Quick Answer

The U.S. Department of State's Visa Bulletin offers information on how many immigrant visas are currently available. The Bureau of Consular Affairs, a division of the Department of State, publishes the bulletin on a monthly basis.

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Full Answer

According to Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, Congress sets the number of immigrants allowed to enter the United States for each country. Immediate relatives of United States citizens do not face a numerical limit, but other categories of family and employment-based immigration have set limits established by Congress.

Visa Bulletins indicate the numbers approved by law for how many foreign individuals can reside temporarily in the United States for family or employment purposes. Other information available includes statistics for diversity lottery approvals, refugee applications and specific immigration application data for different countries. Potential immigrants can view the backlogs for each country and the cut-off dates for immigrant visa categories. If the cut-off day is before the priority date, immigrant hopefuls must wait until it is past the priority date to begin the process of adjustment of status or consular processing.

Some countries, such as India, China, Mexico and the Philippines, are so backlogged that they are designated as "oversubscribed" and are listed separately. All other nations are listed together in the "Worldwide" category.

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