Each month, the Department of State publishes a Visa Bulletin that lists the current priority dates for each category by country. When checking the Visa Bulletin for your family member, you should find the family chart and the preference category for the family member you are applying for.
- If your family member is immigrating from one of the countries listed at the top of the chart, find the priority date below that matches the preference category for your family member.
- If your family member is not from one of the countries listed at the top, use the dates in the All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed categories.
- If your priority date on the I-130 receipt is before the date listed in the Visa Bulletin, there is a visa available for your family member.
- If your priority date in the I-130 receipt is on or after the listed date, there is not yet a visa available for your family member.
Keep in mind that the dates listed on the Visa Bulletin depend on the number of applications received from the different countries for the different categories. The dates on the Visa Bulletin do not move chronologically. For example, if on September 1, 2012, the priority date listed for your category is September 1, 2016, then that does not mean that a visa will be available in 4 years. For many months, the date on the Visa Bulletin will not change or only change a few days, and it may also move backward.