Visa Bulletin Predictions 2024 – A Glimpse into the Green Card Journey

For thousands of immigrants waiting for their green cards, the Visa Bulletin is a monthly oracle, delivering news of progress or stagnation. Gazing into the crystal ball of 2024, visa bulletin predictions offer a glimpse into what might lie ahead for different preference categories and countries of changeability.

However, like any prophecy, predicting the future of visa movement is fraught with uncertainty.

Reduced Green Cards and Shifting Priorities

Fiscal Year 2024 starts with a lower green card allocation compared to FY 2023. While the decrease from 197,000 to 165,000 might cause concern, it’s important to consider compensating factors. First, 25,000 unused family-based visas from FY 2023 will be used for employment-based categories, alleviating some pressure. Second, the Biden administration’s focus on STEM talent and easing the backlog for certain countries could offer opportunities for certain categories.

Family-Based Categories

Predictions suggest continued slow but steady movement in most family-based categories. Immediate relatives (IR) categories for spouses and children of U.S. citizens are expected to remain current throughout the year. Family preference (F) categories, however, might see slightly slower movement, particularly for F2A (siblings of U.S. citizens) and F4 (siblings of green card holders).

A. Final action dates for family-sponsored preference cases

The Final Action Date signifies the point at which USCIS/DOS is authorized to make the ultimate decision regarding submitted applications. Your priority date must precede this designated date.

Family-
Sponsored 
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-mainland
born
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 
F1 01JAN15 01JAN15 01JAN15 01MAY01 01MAR12
F2A 01NOV19 01NOV19 01NOV19 22OCT19 01NOV19
F2B 01OCT15 01OCT15 01OCT15 22OCT03 22OCT11
F3 22APR09 22APR09 22APR09 08SEP98 08JUN02
F4 22MAY07 22MAY07 15NOV05 15SEP00 15OCT02

B. Dates for Filing Applications

The table provided illustrates the recommended timeframe for submitting visa applications that warrant immediate attention in the application process. Individuals applying for immigrant visas with a priority date preceding the application date indicated in the table can compile and submit the necessary documents to the National Visa Center of the Department of State.

This action should be taken upon receiving notification from the National Visa Center, which includes comprehensive instructions for the submission process.

Family-
Sponsored 
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 
F1 01SEP17 01SEP17 01SEP17 01APR05 22APR15
F2A 01SEP23 01SEP23 01SEP23 01SEP23 01SEP23
F2B 01JAN17 01JAN17 01JAN17 01AUG04 01OCT13
F3 01MAR10 01MAR10 01MAR10 15JUN01 08NOV03
F4 01MAR08 01MAR08 22FEB06 15APR01 22APR04

Employment-Based Categories

For EB-1 (extraordinary ability, outstanding researchers, multinational managers), movement is likely to remain swift. EB-2 (advanced degrees, exceptional ability) could see moderate progress, with India and China potentially experiencing slower advancement.

EB-3 (skilled workers, professionals) might face further backlogs, especially in India and Mexico. EB-5 (investors) continues to be shrouded in uncertainty due to ongoing legal challenges.

A. Final Action Dates

Final Action Date refers to the point at which USCIS/DOS is authorized to make their conclusive decision on submitted applications. Your priority date must precede this specified date.

Employment-
based
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C 01JUL22 01SEP20 C C
2nd 01NOV22 01JAN20 01MAR12 01NOV22 01NOV22
3rd 01AUG22 01SEP20 01JUN12 01AUG22 01AUG22
Other Workers 01SEP20 01JAN17 01JUN12 01SEP20 01MAY20
4th 15MAY19 15MAY19 15MAY19 15MAY19 15MAY19
Certain Religious Workers 15MAY19 15MAY19 15MAY19 15MAY19 15MAY19
5th Unreserved
(including C5, T5, I5, R5)
C 08DEC15 01DEC20 C C
5th Set Aside:
Rural (20%)
C C C C C

B. Dates for Filing Applications

The Date for Filing Application is the designated time when you are eligible to submit I-485/NVC applications to USCIS/DOS. Your priority date must precede this specified date.

Employment-
based
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
INDIA MEXICO  PHILIPPINES 
1st C 01JAN23 01JAN21 C C
2nd 15FEB23 01JUN20 15MAY12 15FEB23 15FEB23
3rd 01FEB23 01JUL21 01AUG12 01FEB23 01JAN23
Other Workers 15DEC20 01JUN17 01AUG12 15DEC20 15MAY20
4th 01SEP19 01SEP19 01SEP19 01SEP19 01SEP19
Certain Religious Workers 01SEP19 01SEP19 01SEP19 01SEP19 01SEP19
5th Unreserved
(including C5, T5, I5, R5)
C 01JAN17 01APR22 C C
5th Set Aside:
(Rural – 20%)
C C C C C

EB-2 visa predictions for 2024 are mixed. Movement is expected for some countries, particularly India and China, but at a slower pace compared to EB-1. For other countries, progress could be slower due to larger backlogs.

C. Diversity Immigrant (DV) Category for January

The Visa Bulletin for January 2024 sheds light on the intricacies of immigration processes, specifically about Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This section plays a crucial role in allocating a maximum of 55,000 immigrant visas annually, strategically designed to open up additional avenues for individuals hailing from countries with historically low admissions over the preceding five years.

The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) specifies that starting from DV-99 and continuing as long as needed, a portion of the 55,000 diversity visas allotted each year, up to 5,000, will be reserved for utilization under the NACARA program. Consequently, this will lead to a reduction in the DV-2024 annual limit to approximately 54,850.

Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except
Those Listed Separately
 
AFRICA 22,000 Except:  Algeria     15,000
Egypt        15,000
Morocco   20,000
ASIA 5,500 Except:  Iran     5,450
Nepal  3,000
EUROPE 12,000 Except:  Russia          11,500
Uzbekistan    4,750
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 5
OCEANIA 650
SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN
1,000

D. The Diversity Visa (DV) Immigrant Category Rank Cut-Offs for February

In February, immigrant numbers in the DV category are accessible for eligible DV-2024 applicants from all regions and countries. However, it is important to note that if an allocation cut-off number is specified, visas are only available for applicants who are DV regional lottery rank numbers fall below the designated allocation cut-off number.

Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except
Those Listed Separately
 
AFRICA 26,500 Except: Algeria     26,000
Egypt       25,000
Morocco  25,000
ASIA 5,500 Except:  Iran       5,450
Nepal    4,500
EUROPE 13,500 Except:  Russia         13,250
Uzbekistan    5,500
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 5
OCEANIA 875
SOUTH AMERICA,
and the CARIBBEAN
1,600

Factors Influencing Visa Bulletin 2024 Predictions

Several factors contribute to the predictions for the Visa Bulletin:

  • Annual Visa Quotas: The U.S. government allocates a limited number of immigrant visas each year. Predictions consider the overall availability of visas within the annual quota for each preference category.
  • Demand and Backlogs: High demand for certain visa categories can create backlogs, leading to longer waiting times. Predictions factor in existing backlogs and assess whether they are likely to persist or decrease.
  • Country of Origin: Visa availability varies by country of origin due to per-country limits. Nationals from countries with high demand may face longer wait times. Analysts consider country-specific data to make predictions.
  • Policy Changes: Changes in immigration policies and regulations can impact visa availability. Predictions take into account any anticipated changes in policies that might affect the allocation of visas.
  • Global Events: Events such as geopolitical changes, economic conditions, and public health crises can influence immigration patterns. Analysts assess how global events may impact visa demand and availability.

Tips for Applicants

Remember, predictions are just that – predictions. Unexpected events like policy changes, litigation, or visa availability fluctuations can alter the course of visa movement. To navigate this uncertainty, applicants can:

  • Consult with an immigration attorney: They can help interpret the Visa Bulletin and advise on your specific situation.
  • Stay informed: Subscribe to Visa Bulletin updates and follow reliable immigration news sources.
  • Be patient: Processing times can vary greatly, so prepare for the long haul.
  • Remain adaptable: Be flexible and adjust your expectations as the Visa Bulletin evolves.

As we embark on 2024, the Visa Bulletin will continue to guide the journey of countless immigrants toward U.S. residency. While the path ahead may be unclear, armed with knowledge, resilience, and a little bit of luck, many will find their way to that coveted green card.

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