The Visa Bulletin: What’s New for August 2020?


The latest green card waiting lists as of August 2020, with predictions from a State Department official

Aug 5, 2020


Official stamps an immigration visa application form.

The U.S. Department of State released its Visa Bulletin for August 2020. That’s a big deal if you’re waiting for your priority date to be current so that your green card application can move forward.

If you don’t know what a “visa bulletin” or a “priority date” is, we’ve got you covered. Start by checking out the Boundless guide on How to Read the Visa Bulletin.

If you’re already familiar with those terms, skip ahead to our summary of key developments or to the filing category that’s most relevant to you:

Family-based categories

Employment-based categories

Now let’s continue…

The Bottom Line

The August 2020 Visa Bulletin brings some new movement in wait times for both the family- (“F”) and employment-based (“EB”) green card categories.

The following key developments combine analysis by Boundless and insight from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), which checks in every month with Charles “Charlie” Oppenheim, Chief of the State Department’s Visa Control and Reporting Division, for his assessment of “current trends and future projections.” The AILA insights below were excerpted from AILA Doc. No. 14071401.

Coronavirus Updates:

  • Due to COVID-19’s impact on Oppenheim’s ability to analyze government datasets, his analysis for August does not contain forward-looking projections.

In family-based categories:

  • Oppenheim notes that recent advances in the family-based preference categories have resulted in the accumulation of large amounts of demand and may result in a slow-down family date advances. THis has been mostly due to more limited processing capacity.
  • Again, the F2A category remains current in August across countries and is expected to remain so in September and October.
  • There are advances in all family visa categories and countries, with multiple countries being current.

In employment-based categories:

  • In August the final action date for EB-1 China moves forward 4.5 months from August 22, 2017 to February 8, 2018. EB-1 India continues to advance rapidly but at the slightly slower pace of nine months.
  • As predicted, EB-5 India which became current in July, continues to remain current in August. This trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
  • Finally, EB-2 Worldwide remains current in August and will remain so through the end of this fiscal year.

Wonky technical note: This post focuses on the “Final Action Dates” in the Visa Bulletin because these dates are most relevant for figuring out when applicants will ultimately receive their green cards.

Every month, however, USCIS announces whether applicants already living in the United States should file their “adjustment of status” applications based on the “Final Action Dates” or the “Dates for Filing.”

For July, all family-based visa applicants — except those in the F-2A category — must use the “Dates for Filing” (available on the State Department’s website), whereas F-2A and employment-based visa applicants must use the “Final Action Dates.” Applicants filing from outside the United States must follow the Final Action Dates.

Family-Based Green Card Backlogs

F-1: unmarried children (age 21 and older) of U.S. citizens

CountryNew
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category15-Aug-148-Jul-14-1 month, 1 week
China15-Aug-148-Jul-14-1 month, 1 week
India15-Aug-148-Jul-14-1 month, 1 week
Mexico22-Dec-978-Dec-97-2 weeks
Philippines1-Sep-111-Jun-11-3 months

This category sees movement for all countries:

  • All countries see progress, continuing an advancing trend from April
  • Mexico again experiences the least movement, with an advance of 2 weeks
  • The Philippines advances the most, with a three-month advance
  • Other countries advance by just over one month

F-2A: spouses and unmarried children (under age 21) of U.S. green card holders

CountryNew
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General CategoryNo waitNo waitNo Change
ChinaNo waitNo waitNo Change
IndiaNo waitNo waitNo Change
MexicoNo waitNo waitNo Change
PhilippinesNo waitNo waitNo Change

This category has seen no change, with all countries remaining current.


F-2B: unmarried children (age 21 or older) of U.S. green card holders

CountryNew
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category8-Jun-151-May-15-1 month, 1 week
China8-Jun-151-May-15-1 month, 1 week
India8-Jun-151-May-15-1 month, 1 week
Mexico22-Mar-998-Mar-99-2 weeks
Philippines1-Apr-111-Jan-11-3 months

In August, there is movement for all countries of over one or two months:

  • Three-month advance for the Philippines, continuing on an advancing trend dating back to October 2019
  • One-month advance for all other categories, except Mexico which only sees a two-week advance

F-3: married children of U.S. citizens

CountryNew
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category1-Jun-088-May-08-3 weeks, 1 day
China1-Jun-088-May-08-3 weeks, 1 day
India1-Jun-088-May-08-3 weeks, 1 day
Mexico15-Jul-968-Jul-96-1 week
Philippines15-Nov-0115-Aug-01-3 months

Steady advances this month for all countries:

  • Two-week advances for General Category, India, Mexico and China
  • Three-month advance for the Philippines

F-4: siblings of U.S. citizens

CountryNew
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category8-Sep-0622-Aug-06-2 weeks, 3 days
China8-Sep-0622-Aug-06-2 weeks, 3 days
India22-Feb-058-Feb-05-2 weeks
Mexico15-Jun-981-Jun-98-2 weeks
Philippines1-Sep-011-Jun-01-3 months

All countries advance in this category:

  • The Philippines sees a three-month progression
  • Two-week advance for India, the General Category, Mexico, and China

    EB-1: extraordinary people, outstanding researchers and professors, and multinational executives and managers

    CountryNew
    Cut-off Date
    Old
    Cut-off Date
    Change in Wait Time
    General CategoryNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
    China8-Feb-1822-Aug-17-5 months, 2 weeks, 3 days
    Central AmericaNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
    India08Feb1808May17-9 months
    MexicoNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
    PhilippinesNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
    VietnamNo WaitNo WaitNo Change

    Most countries remain current (meaning there is no wait) and two continue to see movement across this category:

  • No wait for the General Category, Central America, Mexico, Vietnam and the Philippines
  • Nine-month advance for India
  • Five-month advance for China

    EB-2: exceptional people and advanced degree holders

    CountryNew
    Cut-off Date
    Old
    Cut-off Date
    Change in Wait Time
    General CategoryNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
    China15-Jan-168-Nov-15-2 months, 1 week
    Central AmericaNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
    India8-Jul-098-Jul-09No Change
    MexicoNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
    PhilippinesNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
    VietnamNo WaitNo WaitNo Change

    No change for most of the category, except for India and China, which both sow compared to June:

  • No visa wait time for the General Category, Central America, Mexico, Vietnam and the Philippines
  • Two-month advance for China
  • No change for India, whose priority date remains unchanged

    EB-3: bachelor’s degree holders, skilled workers, and unskilled workers

    CountryNew
    Cut-off Date
    Old
    Cut-off Date
    Change in Wait Time
    General Category01Apr1915Apr18-11 months, 2 weeks, 3 days
    China15-Feb-1722-Jun-16-7 months, 3 weeks, 3 days
    Central America01Apr1915Apr18-11 months, 2 weeks, 3 days
    India1-Oct-091-Jun-09-4 months
    Mexico01Apr1915Apr18-11 months, 2 weeks, 3 days
    Philippines01Apr1915Apr18-11 months, 2 weeks, 3 days
    Vietnam01Apr1915Apr18-11 months, 2 weeks, 3 days

    Strong advances continue throughout this category, with all countries advancing:

  • Eleven-month advances for General Category, Central America, Mexico, Philippines and Vietnam
  • Four-month advance for India
  • Seven-month advance for China

    In the EB-4 “special immigrants” category, many countries are current and others see moderate advances or none. In the EB-5 category, almost all countries remain current except for Vietnam and China, which see advances.

    CategoryCountryNew
    Cut-off Date
    Old
    Cut-off Date
    Change in Wait Time
    EB-4: Special ImmigrantsGeneral CategoryNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
    ChinaNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
    Central America01Apr1701Feb17-2 months
    IndiaNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
    Mexico15Jun1815Jun18No Change
    PhilippinesNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
    VietnamNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
    EB-5: InvestorsGeneral CategoryNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
    China8-Aug-1522-Jul-15-2 weeks, 3 days
    Central AmericaNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
    IndiaNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
    MexicoNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
    PhilippinesNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
    Vietnam22-Jul-1715-May-17-2 months, 1 week

    Why This Matters

    If you’re in line for a green card, it’s important to keep track of actual changes (and likely future developments) in the Visa Bulletin. It’s always a good idea to prepare all the documents needed for your green card application ahead of time, so you can be ready to file as quickly as possible once the Visa Bulletin shows that a green card is available to you. By failing to file in a month when a green card is available, you risk facing a surprise backward movement (“retrogression”) in the next Visa Bulletin, which would close your window of opportunity for filing a green card application.

    Stay tuned for next month’s update! As always, we’ll highlight all the important changes for you.


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