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.

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

CountryNew
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category15-Sep-1415-Aug-14-1 month
China15-Sep-1415-Aug-14-1 month
India15-Sep-1415-Aug-14-1 month
Mexico8-Jan-9822-Dec-97-2 weeks, 3 days
Philippines15-Dec-111-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

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-Jul-158-Jun-15-1 month
China8-Jul-158-Jun-15-1 month
India8-Jul-158-Jun-15-1 month
Mexico8-Apr-9922-Mar-99-2 weeks, 3 days
Philippines1-Aug-111-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

CountryNew
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category15-Jun-081-Jun-08-2 weeks
China15-Jun-081-Jun-08-2 weeks
India15-Jun-081-Jun-08-2 weeks
Mexico1-Aug-9615-Jul-96-2 weeks, 3 days
Philippines15-Feb-0215-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

CountryNew
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category22-Sep-068-Sep-06-2 weeks
China22-Sep-068-Sep-06-2 weeks
India8-Mar-0522-Feb-05-2 weeks
Mexico22-Jun-9815-Jun-98-2 weeks, 3 days
Philippines1-Jan-021-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

CountryNew
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General CategoryNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
China1-Mar-188-Feb-18-3 weeks
Central AmericaNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
India01Mar1808Feb18-3 weeks
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 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

CountryNew
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General CategoryNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
China15-Jan-1615-Jan-16No Change
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, including China and India, which do not move forward.


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

CountryNew
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category01Apr1901Apr19No Change
China15-Feb-1715-Feb-17No Change
Central America01Apr1901Apr19No Change
India1-Oct-091-Oct-09No Change
Mexico01Apr1901Apr19No Change
Philippines01Apr1901Apr19No Change
Vietnam01Apr1901Apr19No 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.

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 America01Apr1701Apr17No Change
IndiaNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
Mexico15Jun1815Jun18No Change
PhilippinesNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
VietnamNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
EB-5: InvestorsGeneral CategoryNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
China15-Aug-158-Aug-15-1 week
Central AmericaNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
IndiaNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
MexicoNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
PhilippinesNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
Vietnam1-Aug-1722-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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