The Visa Bulletin Archive for September 2020


Sep 16, 2020


Official stamps an immigration visa application form.

This is an archive of our Visa Bulletin analysis from September 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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Below is a summary of key developments from September. Find the filing category that’s most relevant to you:

Family-based categories

Employment-based categories

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 September, 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

Country New
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category 15-Sep-14 15-Aug-14 -1 month
China 15-Sep-14 15-Aug-14 -1 month
India 15-Sep-14 15-Aug-14 -1 month
Mexico 8-Jan-98 22-Dec-97 -2 weeks, 3 days
Philippines 15-Dec-11 1-Sep-11 -3 months, 2 weeks

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

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

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

Country New
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category 8-Jul-15 8-Jun-15 -1 month
China 8-Jul-15 8-Jun-15 -1 month
India 8-Jul-15 8-Jun-15 -1 month
Mexico 8-Apr-99 22-Mar-99 -2 weeks, 3 days
Philippines 1-Aug-11 1-Apr-11 -4 months

In September, there is movement for all countries:

  • Four-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

Country New
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category 15-Jun-08 1-Jun-08 -2 weeks
China 15-Jun-08 1-Jun-08 -2 weeks
India 15-Jun-08 1-Jun-08 -2 weeks
Mexico 1-Aug-96 15-Jul-96 -2 weeks, 3 days
Philippines 15-Feb-02 15-Nov-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

Country New
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category 22-Sep-06 8-Sep-06 -2 weeks
China 22-Sep-06 8-Sep-06 -2 weeks
India 8-Mar-05 22-Feb-05 -2 weeks
Mexico 22-Jun-98 15-Jun-98 -2 weeks, 3 days
Philippines 1-Jan-02 1-Sep-01 -4 months

All countries advance in this category:

  • The Philippines sees a four-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

Country New
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category No Wait No Wait No Change
China 1-Mar-18 8-Feb-18 -3 weeks
Central America No Wait No Wait No Change
India 01Mar18 08Feb18 -3 weeks
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) and two continue to see movement in this category:

  • No wait for the General Category, Central America, Mexico, Vietnam and the Philippines.
  • Three week advance for India and China

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 15-Jan-16 15-Jan-16 No Change
Central America No Wait No Wait No Change
India 8-Jul-09 8-Jul-09 No Change
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, including China and India, which do not move forward.


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 01Apr19 01Apr19 No Change
China 15-Feb-17 15-Feb-17 No Change
Central America 01Apr19 01Apr19 No Change
India 1-Oct-09 1-Oct-09 No Change
Mexico 01Apr19 01Apr19 No Change
Philippines 01Apr19 01Apr19 No Change
Vietnam 01Apr19 01Apr19 No Change

No changes from August for this category, with all countries not advancing.


In the EB-4 “special immigrants” category, all countries either remain current or do not advance.

In the EB-5 category, almost all countries remain current except for Vietnam and China, which see slight 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 01Apr17 01Apr17 No Change
India No Wait No Wait No Change
Mexico 15Jun18 15Jun18 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-Aug-15 8-Aug-15 -1 week
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 1-Aug-17 22-Jul-17 -10 days

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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