August 2016 Visa Bulletin: Family Categories

Although most of the focus on the visa bulletin released by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) each month is reserved for the employment-based (EB) categories, the monthly visa bulletin also provides cutoff dates for the family-based (FB) categories. These categories tend to be less volatile, so regular coverage of the cutoff date movements for FB cases tends to be less pressing. Nevertheless, it is helpful to at least provide occasional updates for MurthyDotCom readers.

Visa Bulletin Summary: Family-Based Categories

Family-Based, First Preferences (FB1)

The FB1 category is for unmarried sons and daughters (21 or over) of U.S. citizens. The cutoff date for August 2016 in this category is May 22, 2009, for all countries, except Mexico and the Philippines. The cutoff date for Mexico is March 8, 1995, while the Philippines has a cutoff date of March 22, 2005. This is a two-month advancement from the past month for all but Mexico and the Philippines.

Family-Based, Second Preference, “A” (FB2A)

The FB2A category is for spouses and children (unmarried, under 21) of U.S. permanent residents (i.e. “green card” holders). The cutoff date in this category is November 15, 2014 for all countries, except for Mexico. Mexico’s cutoff date is just slightly behind the rest, at September 1, 2014.This is unchanged from the prior month.

The DOS reports that visa number use in this category has increased dramatically. The overall use is close to reaching the maximum limit allowed for fiscal year 2016 (FY16). Thus, the DOS may have to retrogress the dates in this category in September 2016. If this occurs, the cutoff dates will return to the latest date reached in FY16 in the October 2016 Visa Bulletin, which will be the first visa bulletin of fiscal year 2017.

Family-Based, Second Preference, “B” (FB2B)

The FB2B category is for unmarried sons and daughters (21 or older) of U.S. permanent residents. The cutoff date in this category moves by a month, to January 8, 2010, for all countries, except for Mexico and the Philippines. The cutoff date for Mexico is unchanged at September 8, 1995, while the cutoff date for the Philippines advances by over two months, to September 15, 2005.

Family-Based, Third Preference (FB3)

The FB3 category is for married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. The FB3 cutoff date remains unchanged, at December 1, 2004, for all countries, except Mexico and the Philippines. Mexico’s cutoff date, of October 22, 1994, is also unchanged. The Philippines FB3 cutoff date inches forward by two weeks, to March 15, 1994. Like FB2A, the FB3 category is reaching its limit for FY16. If this occurs, as explained for FB2A above, the cutoff date will be retrogressed for the month of September 2016.

Family-Based, Fourth Preference (FB4)

The FB4 category is for brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens. This extremely backlogged category advances by a week, to a cutoff date of September 15, 2003, for all countries, except for India, Mexico, and the Philippines. India’s cutoff date of January 1, 2001 is unchanged, as is Mexico’s April 15, 1997 cutoff date. The Philippines moves by one month, to February 1, 1993.


As can be seen by the FB cutoff dates, there is high demand in each category. The immigration patterns are different for FB cases with regard to country of chargeability when compared to EB cases. Thus, the most extreme backlogs in FB cases apply to Mexico and the Philippines, rather than India and China, which have heavier backlogs in the FB categories.


Copyright © 2016, MURTHY LAW FIRM. All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.