The visa bulletin, issued monthly by the U.S. Department of State, determines visa availability and priority dates for prospective immigrants to the United States. It indicates when applicants can begin the final phases of the green card application process, including filing adjustment of status paperwork. Monitoring the visa bulletin is essential for applicants to understand if they can submit their final green card applications.This article examines the February 2024 visa bulletin predictions for all major immigrant categories, including family-based and employment-based preferences. It also provides an overview of the current priority dates and expected forward movement in 2024. Additionally, it covers green card projections for 2024 and expected waiting times for applicants.
Overview of Priority Dates and Visa Bulletin Movement
Each visa category has a priority date, indicating an applicant’s place in line to receive a green card. Priority dates progress forward each month as older cases are processed and visa numbers become available. Applicants can only file final green card paperwork once their priority date is earlier than the dates listed for their category in the visa bulletin.
The rate of visa bulletin movement and priority date progression depends on variables like demand for visas, number of visas allocated by Congress, and processing times at government agencies. Slower movement leads to longer wait times for applicants, while faster progression reduces backlogs.The February visa bulletin tends to establish expectations for the year ahead. Strong forward movement in February signals faster processing and shorter waits, while limited advancement indicates potential challenges processing green card applications.
February 2024 Visa Bulletin: Family-Based Projections
For family-based applicants, the February 2024 visa bulletin is expected to show moderate forward movement across all categories.The married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (F1 category) could progress by up to one month.
The F2A category for spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents may advance by up to two weeks. For the F2B category (unmarried adult children over 21 of LPRs), movement is expected to be up to three weeks.
The F3 category for married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens could progress by about one month. Finally, the F4 category for siblings of adult U.S. citizens is predicted to move forward by up to two weeks.Overall, the family-based categories are not expected to retrogress and could see small but steady forward movement in 2024. Applicants early in the process may see slower progress, while those nearing the end of the backlog queue have better chances to complete their cases.
February 2024 Visa Bulletin: Employment-Based Projections
For employment-based categories, the February 2024 visa bulletin is forecast to show strong advancement across all categories, especially for applicants from India and China.
The EB1 category for priority workers is expected to remain current for all countries. EB2 for advanced degree holders could progress rapidly by up to six months for India and one year for China. The EB3 category for bachelor’s degree holders is predicted to advance by nine months for India and one year for China.
The EB4 category for special immigrants and EB5 for investors will likely remain current worldwide.Rapid movement is expected due to rising country limits, reducing backlogs, and higher visa numbers allocated by Congress. Applicants with priority dates from early 2023 and beyond have a strong chance to complete green card processing by the end of 2024. Those with older priority dates from 2022 and earlier may still need to wait several more months or years depending on demand.
Green Card Projections for 2024
Overall, experts predict around 575,000 green cards could be issued in fiscal year 2024, a slight increase from 2023. This includes 226,000 family-based green cards and 336,000 employment-based green cards. An additional 13,000 green cards are available for the diversity visa lottery program.
For family-based applicants, wait times are expected to remain lengthy at over 10 years for certain categories like F4 siblings of U.S. citizens from Mexico and the Philippines. Average processing times could range from 6 months for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to over 20 years for lower priority family-based applicants depending on country of chargeability.Employment-based applicants are likely to see significantly reduced wait times in 2024.
EB2 and EB3 applicants from India and China could progress to the final green card stages within 2-4 years on average. EB1 applicants may complete processing within 6-12 months. EB4 and EB5 wait times will remain minimal at less than one year for most countries.
The February 2024 visa bulletin predictions and green card projections for 2024 indicate continued forward movement across most categories, especially for Indian and Chinese nationals in the employment-based second (EB2) and third (EB3) preferences.Applicants with priority dates in early 2023 or beyond have a strong likelihood of completing green card processing by the end of 2024 due to rising country limits and increased visa numbers.
However, average wait times may still extend beyond a decade for lower priority family-based applicants.Consistently checking the monthly visa bulletin remains essential even for applicants who already have green card paperwork pending. USCIS will reject applications if the priority date retrogresses behind the applicant’s place in line.
Staying informed on the bulletin forecasts helps applicants make decisions and plan next steps for their immigration process.With strategic preparation and a bit of luck in visa number allocation, more applicants worldwide could finally attain lawful permanent resident status in the United States by the end of 2024. The upcoming months will determine if projections hold true, so stay tuned for the latest visa bulletin updates.
- February 2024 Visa Bulletin Predictions: Big Changes Expected by USCIS This New Year: This article discusses the possible movement of priority dates for different employment-based categories and countries, and the factors behind the predictions.
- Good News for Health and Social Care Workers: New Visa Route Allows Dependents in 2024: This article explains the benefits of the new Health and Care Visa for healthcare professionals who want to work in the UK and bring their families with them.
- USCIS I-130 Petition for Alien Relative – What You Need to Know in 2024: This article provides an overview of the process and requirements for filing Form I-130, the first step to help a relative immigrate to the US through family sponsorship.