The Visa Bulletin: What’s New for July 2019?


The latest green card waiting lists as of July 2019, with predictions from a State Department official

Jun 30, 2019


The U.S. Department of State released its Visa Bulletin for July 2019. 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 July 2019 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.

In family-based categories:

  • Movement is strong across the family-based categories, especially for the Philippines, but Mexico sees significant backward movement in cutoff dates (a phenomenon known as “retrogression”) for F-1, F-3, and F-4 relatives.
  • The most significant change is in the F2A category: Dates are current for all countries in July, meaning there is no more wait time. Because green card and visa applicants have not been responding to “Agent of Choice” letters from the National Visa Center (NVC), which processes applications filed outside the United States, the lines were eliminated to encourage applicants to make progress on their applications, according to Oppenheim. He notes, however, that inviting a large number of applications is likely to cause retrogression to an earlier date in the F-2A category at some point.

In employment-based categories:

  • In the EB-1 category, Oppenheim expects eventual retrogression, possibly in August, except for China and India, whose dates he predicts will remain the same for the rest of fiscal year 2019 (until the end of September).
  • Due to increased demand, Oppenheim predicts that the EB-2 will not remain current in the August Visa Bulletin. Only India will continue to move forward, but only by up to a week.
  • The EB-3 category sees heavy demand, as well, and Oppenheim expects retrogression possibly in August. Also notable: There is no longer a wait for the Philippines; Chinese workers will continue to see advances by several months until the end of fiscal year 2019; but India will move little, if any, according to Oppenheim.
  • EB-4 remains current for most countries, except Central America, which advances more than 3 months. Oppenheim expects the Final Action Dates for these countries to remain steady until the end of September. The line for Mexico, however, moved backward significantly, by 2 years and 3 months.
  • For EB-5 Indian workers, there is now a line following several consecutive months of no cut-off. Oppenheim expects this and the cut-off dates for all other countries in the EB-5 category to remain throughout the rest of fiscal 2019.

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, 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 employment-based visa applicants must use the “Final Action Dates.” Applicants filing from outside the United States must follow the Final Action Dates.

Read on for details…


Family-Based Green Card Backlogs

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

CountryNew Cut-off DateOld Cut-off DateChange in Wait Time
General Category8-Mar-1215-Feb-12–3 weeks, 1 day
China8-Mar-1215-Feb-12–3 weeks, 1 day
India8-Mar-1215-Feb-12–3 weeks, 1 day
Mexico1-Aug-968-Aug-97+1 year, 1 week
Philippines22-Aug-0722-Jun-07–2 months

Mexico moves backward while all other countries make progress, strongest for the Philippines:

  • Three-week, 1-day advance for the general category, China, and India by over three weeks, and the Philippines by one week
  • One-year, 1-week backward movement for Mexico

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

CountryNew Cut-off DateOld Cut-off DateChange in Wait Time
General CategoryNo wait15-Jul-17No more wait
ChinaNo wait15-Jul-17No more wait
IndiaNo wait15-Jul-17No more wait
MexicoNo wait1-Jul-17No more wait
PhilippinesNo wait15-Jul-17No more wait

This category has seen very significant change, with all countries advancing to current status, meaning there is no wait time.


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

CountryNew Cut-off DateOld Cut-off DateChange in Wait Time
General Category1-Sep-1315-May-13–3 months, 2 weeks, 3 days
China1-Sep-1315-May-13–3 months, 2 weeks, 3 days
India1-Sep-1315-May-13–3 months, 2 weeks, 3 days
Mexico15-Apr-9815-Mar-98–1 month
Philippines1-Jan-0815-Nov-07–3 months, 2 weeks, 3 days

This month, most countries in this category continue to move forward. Mexico continues to slow but the Philippines moves forward significantly:

  • Three-month, 2-week, 3-day advance for the general category, China, India, and the Philippines
  • One-month advance for Mexico

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

CountryNew Cut-off DateOld Cut-off DateChange in Wait Time
General Category8-Mar-0722-Dec-06–2 months, 2 weeks
China8-Mar-0722-Dec-06–2 months, 2 weeks
India8-Mar-0722-Dec-06–2 months, 2 weeks
Mexico1-Jul-9522-Feb-96+7 months, 3 weeks
Philippines1-Aug-971-Feb-97–6 months

Most countries in this category advance, with strongest movement for the Philippines, while Mexico moves backward significantly:

  • Two-month, 2-week advance for the general category, China, and India
  • Six-month advance for the Philippines
  • Seven-month, 3-week retrogression for Mexico

F-4: siblings of U.S. citizens

CountryNew Cut-off DateOld Cut-off DateChange in Wait Time
General Category15-Jun-061-Apr-06–2 months, 2 weeks
China15-Jun-061-Apr-06–2 months, 2 weeks
India22-Aug-0415-Aug-04–1 week
Mexico1-Jan-978-Feb-98+1 year, 1 month, 1 week
Philippines1-Jan-981-Jun-97–7 months

The Philippines continues to move ahead of the pack, while Mexico moves backward significantly after already making no progress for 7 months in a row:

  • Two-month, 2-week advance for the general category and China
  • Seven-month advance for the Philippines
  • One-week advance for India
  • One-year, 1-month, 1-week retrogression for Mexico

Employment-Based Green Card Backlogs

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

CountryNew Cut-off DateOld Cut-off DateChange in Wait Time
General Category22-Apr-1822-Apr-18No change
China8-May-1722-Feb-17–2 months, 2 weeks, 2 days
Central America22-Apr-1822-Apr-18No change
India1-Jan-151-Jan-15No change
Mexico22-Apr-1822-Apr-18No change
Philippines22-Apr-1822-Apr-18No change
Vietnam22-Apr-1822-Apr-18No change

No Change in movement for this category, expect for China:

  • No change for the general category, Central America, India, Mexico, the Philippines, and Vietnam
  • Two-month, 2-week, 2-day advance for China

EB-2: exceptional people and advanced degree holders

CountryNew Cut-off DateOld Cut-off DateChange in Wait Time
General CategoryNo waitNo waitNo change
China1-Nov-161-Aug-16–3 months
Central AmericaNo waitNo waitNo change
India24-Apr-0919-Apr-09–5 days
MexicoNo waitNo waitNo change
PhilippinesNo waitNo waitNo change
VietnamNo waitNo waitNo change

Mostly good news in this category, with no lines for nearly all countries except China and India:

  • Dates remain current for the general category, Central America, Mexico, the Philippines, and Vietnam — no wait, celebrate!
  • Three-month advance for China
  • Five-day advance for India

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

CountryNew Cut-off DateOld Cut-off DateChange in Wait Time
General CategoryNo waitNo waitNo change
China1-Jan-1615-Sep-15–3 months, 2 weeks, 3 days
Central AmericaNo waitNo waitNo change
India1-Jul-091-Jul-09No change
MexicoNo waitNo waitNo change
PhilippinesNo wait1-Nov-18No more wait
VietnamNo waitNo waitNo change

No lines for many countries in this category, plus the general category, a trend that started at the beginning of the new fiscal year. This now also includes the Philippines:

  • Dates current for the general category, Central America, Mexico, Vietnam and the Philippines
  • No change for India
  • Three-month, 2-week, 3-day advance for China

Finally, just to be complete about all of this: In the EB-4 “special immigrants” category, the line shows movement again for Central America, but Mexico sees backward movement (retrogression) by over 2 years. In the EB-5 investor category, China and Vietnam continue to have uncleared backlogs but are now joined by India, which retrogressed by over 2 years.

CategoryCountryNew Cut-off DateOld Cut-off DateChange in Wait Time
EB-4: Special ImmigrantsGeneral CategoryNo waitNo waitNo change
ChinaNo waitNo waitNo change
Central America1-Jul-1622-Mar-16–3 months, 1 week, 2 days
IndiaNo waitNo waitNo change
Mexico1-Jul-161-Oct-18+2 years, 3 months
PhilippinesNo waitNo waitNo change
VietnamNo waitNo waitNo change
CategoryCountryNew Cut-off DateOld Cut-off DateChange in Wait Time
EB-5: InvestorsGeneral CategoryNo waitNo waitNo change
China1-Oct-141-Oct-14No change
Central AmericaNo waitNo waitNo change
India1-May-17No wait+2 years, 2 months
MexicoNo waitNo waitNo change
PhilippinesNo waitNo waitNo change
Vietnam1-Oct-161-Oct-16No change

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. In the meantime, enjoy watching this gorilla spotted walking like a human at the Philadelphia Zoo.


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