October 2020 U.S. Visa Bulletin Archive


Sep 27, 2020


Official stamps an immigration visa application form.

This is an archive of our Visa Bulletin analysis from October 2020. Find the latest Visa Bulletin here.

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.

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If you’re already familiar with those terms, scroll down 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 following key developments combine analysis by Boundless and insight from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). The AILA insights below were excerpted from AILA Doc. No. 20092937.

In family-based categories:

  • The big news this month has been that family-based categories are not advancing. The U.S. State Department explained that this is due to the fact that movement in the family-based final action dates during the last six months, coupled with the suspension of routine visa processing at consular posts, have resulted in “enough accumulated demand to fully utilize the numbers normally made available through the first quarter of the fiscal year.”
  • These unused family-based numbers have been added to the FY2021 employment-based immigrant visa allocation, resulting in an all-time high employment-based allocation of approximately 261,500 immigrant visas.

In employment-based categories:

  • There were significant advances across the employment-based category this month, due to allocation of visas mentioned above.
  • The decision to advance these dates was made by DOS in consultation with the USCIS Office of Policy and Strategy “to accommodate processing plans for USCIS Offices during the coming fiscal year and to maximize number use within the FY 2021 annual limits.”
  • So, if you’re waiting for an employment-based visa: go check the dates, as yours might have advanced significantly!

Every month 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 October, all family-based visa applicants — except those in the F-2A category — and employment-based visa applicants must use the “Dates for Filing”, whereas F-2A 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

Country New
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category 15-Sep-14 15-Sep-14 No Change
China 15-Sep-14 15-Sep-14 No Change
India 15-Sep-14 15-Sep-14 No Change
Mexico 8-Jan-98 8-Jan-98 No Change
Philippines 15-Dec-11 15-Dec-11 No Change
  • No countries advance this month, therefore all countries retain the same priority date.

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

Country New
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category No wait No wait No Change
China No wait No wait No Change
India No wait No wait No Change
Mexico No wait No wait No Change
Philippines No wait No wait No Change
  • No countries advance this month, therefore all countries retain the same priority date.

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

Country New
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category 8-Jul-15 8-Jul-15 No Change
China 8-Jul-15 8-Jul-15 No Change
India 8-Jul-15 8-Jul-15 No Change
Mexico 8-Apr-99 8-Apr-99 No Change
Philippines 1-Aug-11 1-Aug-11 No Change
  • No countries advance this month, therefore all countries retain the same priority date.

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

Country New
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category 15-Jun-08 15-Jun-08 No Change
China 15-Jun-08 15-Jun-08 No Change
India 15-Jun-08 15-Jun-08 No Change
Mexico 1-Aug-96 1-Aug-96 No Change
Philippines 15-Feb-02 15-Feb-02 No Change
  • No countries advance this month, therefore all countries retain the same priority date.

F-4: siblings of U.S. citizens

Country New
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category 22-Sep-06 22-Sep-06 No Change
China 22-Sep-06 22-Sep-06 No Change
India 8-Mar-05 8-Mar-05 No Change
Mexico 22-Jun-98 22-Jun-98 No Change
Philippines 1-Jan-02 1-Jan-02 No Change
  • No countries advance this month, therefore all countries retain the same priority date.

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

Country New
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category No wait No wait No Change
China 1-Sep-20 1-Jul-18 -2 years, 2 months
Central America No wait No wait No Change
India 01Sep20 01Jul18 -2 years, 2 months
Mexico No wait No wait No Change
Philippines No wait No wait No Change
Vietnam No wait No wait No Change

Most countries remain current (meaning there is no wait) but two countries see dramatic movement:

  • No wait for the General Category, Central America, Mexico, Vietnam and the Philippines
  • A more than two-year advance for China and India

EB-2: exceptional people and advanced degree holders

Country New
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category No wait No wait No Change
China 1-Oct-16 1-Aug-16 -2 months
Central America No wait No wait No Change
India 15-May-11 15-Aug-09 -1 year, 9 months
Mexico No wait No wait No Change
Philippines No wait No wait No Change
Vietnam No wait No wait No Change
  • No change for most of the category, except China, which moves 2 months, and India, which sees a significant nearly two-year increase

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

Country New
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category No wait 1-April-20 -6 months
China 1-Jun-18 1-May-17 -1 year, 1 month
Central America No wait 1-April-20 -6 months
India 1-Jan-15 1-Feb-10 -5 years, 1 month
Mexico No wait 1-April 20 -6 months
Philippines No wait 1-April-20 -6 months
Vietnam No wait No wait No Change

Very significant movement for this category, with most countries becoming current (meaning no wait time):

  • The General Category, Central America, Mexico, and Philippines
  • China advances by a little over 1 year
  • India jumped by 5 years and 1 month

In the EB-4 “special immigrants” category, all countries remain current, except Central America, which moves forward 4 months. In the EB-5 category, almost all countries remain current or see no advances.

Category Country New
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
EB-4: Special Immigrants General Category No wait No wait No Change
China No wait No wait No Change
Central America 01Feb18 01Oct17 -4 months
India No wait No wait No Change
Mexico No wait No wait No change
Philippines No wait No wait No Change
Vietnam No wait No wait No Change
EB-5: Investors General Category No wait No wait No Change
China 15-Dec-15 15-Dec-15 No Change
Central America No wait No wait No Change
India No wait No wait No Change
Mexico No wait No wait No Change
Philippines No wait No wait No Change
Vietnam No wait No wait No 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.


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