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InfoPass Online Appointment Scheduler


Sunday, January 1, 2006
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InfoPass is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) internet-based system that allows the public to make an appointment with an Immigration Information Officer.  Unfortunately, the USCIS recently announced that the InfoPass system is currently down and is unavailable due to technical difficulties.   USCIS is anticipating having the system restored shortly and has asked that anyone who already has an appointment to come in as scheduled. If anyone needs to make an appointment, USCIS has requested that the person wait until the system is restored as most of the appointments during the next few days have already been booked by other customers.

 

Immigrant Number Availability

 

The U.S. Government limits the number of immigrants that can immigrate to the each year. Because of this limitation, the government has set up a system in which each person who applies for permanent residence must have an immigrant number available for them before they can get a green card. Because there are so many people in the world applying for permanent residence in the , the number of people seeking permanent residence is greater than the number of immigrant numbers that have been allotted for that particular year. In that situation, a person would have to wait until an immigrant number becomes available before they can get their green card.

 

The first step in applying for a green card is to have a family member file an I-130 on behalf of immigrant with the USCIS or an employer file a labor certification with the United States Department of Labor.   The date that the I-130 or labor certification is filed is the immigrant ‘s priority date.  The priority date is the date that qualifies the immigrant to apply for the green card.  Each month the United States Department of State sets the “cut-off date” for an oversubscribed category.  An oversubscribed category is any category where there are more immigrants requesting green cards than there are immigrant numbers.  The State Department sets the priority date by determining the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits.  Only applicants who have a priority date earlier than the cut-off date may be allotted an immigrant number. 

 

The U.S. Government sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000.  The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000.  In addition, the Government has set per-country limits for preference immigrants  at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits, i.e., 25,620. 

 

The family-based and employment based categories have been defined as follows:

 

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

 

First:  Unmarried Sons and Daughters of 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, and any unused first preference numbers:

 

A.  Spouses and Children:  77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

 

B.  Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older):  23% of the overall second preference limitation.

 

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

 

Fourth:  Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens:  65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

 

EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES

 

First:    Priority Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

 

Second:  Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.

 

Third:  Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to "Other Workers".  

 

Schedule A Workers: Employment First, Second, and Third preference Schedule A applicants are entitled to up to 50,000 “recaptured” numbers.

 

Fourth:  Certain Special Immigrants:  7.1% of the worldwide level.

 

Fifth:  Employment Creation:  7.1% 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 set by law.

 

Each month the State Department publishes charts with the dates that an immigrant number is available for each family and employment based category.  The charts below are the published charts for the numbers available in January 2006.  The charts list the date that an immigrant number is available in each category.  If a "C" is listed instead of a date, it means current, i.e., numbers are available for all qualified applicants; and if a "U" is listed instead of a date, it means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available.  (NOTE:  Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.)  In addition, four countries have reach their per-country limited and each has separate cut-off dates for each category.  These Countries include CHINA-mainland born, , , and

 

 

 

All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed

 

CHINA-mainland born

 

 

 

PHILIP-PINES

 

Family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1st

 

22APR01

 

22APR01

 

22APR01

 

08AUG94

 

22AUG91

 

2A*

 

15JAN02

 

15JAN02

 

15JAN02

 

15FEB99

 

15JAN02

 

2B

 

22JUN96

 

22JUN96

 

22JUN96

 

08FEB92

 

22JUN96

 

3rd

 

01JUL98

 

01JUL98

 

01JUL98

 

08OCT94

 

08FEB91

 

4th

 

15JUN94

 

15JUN94

 

22DEC93

 

01SEP92

 

01OCT83

 

*NOTE:  For January, 2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 15FEB99.  2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT  with priority dates beginning 15FEB99 and earlier than 15JAN02.  (All 2A numbers provided for are exempt from the per-country limit; there are no 2A numbers for subject to per-country limit.)

 

 

 

All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed

 

CH

 

IN

 

ME

 

PH

 

EmploymentBased

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1st

 

C

 

01JAN02

 

01JUL03

 

C

 

C

 

2nd

 

C

 

01JUN01

 

01JAN01

 

C

 

C

 

3rd

 

01APR01

 

01APR01

 

01JUN99

 

01MAR01

 

01APR01

 

Schedule A Workers

 

C

 

C

 

C

 

C

 

C

 

Other Workers

 

01APR01

 

01APR01

 

01APR01

 

01APR01

 

01APR01

 

4th

 

C

 

C

 

C

 

C

 

C

 

Certain Religious Workers

 

C

 

C

 

C

 

C

 

C

 

5th

 

C

 

C

 

C

 

C

 

C

 

Targeted Employment Areas/Regional Centers

 

C

 

C

 

C

 

C

 

C

 

The Department of State has a recorded message with visa availability information that can be heard at:  (area code 202) 663-1541.  This recording will be updated in the middle of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.

 

OBTAINING THE MONTHLY VISA BULLETIN

 

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs publishes the monthly "Visa Bulletin".  The “Visa Bulletin” lists the priority dates for each of the categories listed above as well as other useful information for immigrants wanting to immigrate to the .   The INTERNET Web address to access the “Visa Bulletin” is:   

 

http://travel.state.gov

 

From the home page, select the VISA section that contains the Visa Bulletin.  You can also be placed on the State Department’s E-mail subscription list for the “Visa Bulletin” by sending an E-mail to the following E-mail address:

 

[email protected]

 

In the message body type:
Subscribe Visa-Bulletin First name/Last name(example:  Subscribe Visa-Bulletin  Sally Doe)

 

The State Department will them e-mail you the “Visa Bulletin” each month.  To be removed from the State Department’s E-mail subscription list for the  “Visa Bulletin”, send an e-mail message to the following E-mail address:

 

[email protected]

 

and in the message body type: Signoff Visa-Bulletin

 

Please note that nothing on this page should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. The information is intended to be general and should not be relied upon for any specific situation. For legal advice, consult an attorney experienced in immigration law.

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About Igbanugo Partners Int'l Law Firm

Igbanugo Partners Int'l Law Firm is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It focuses on (1) U.S. immigration law and (2) international trade law in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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