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:
- F-1: Unmarried Children (Age 21 and Older) of U.S. Citizens
- F-2A: Spouses and Unmarried Children (Under Age 21) of U.S. Green Card Holders
- F-2B: Unmarried Children (Age 21 or Older) of U.S. Green Card Holders
- F-3: Married Children of U.S. Citizens
- F-4: Siblings of U.S. Citizens
- EB-1: Extraordinary People, Outstanding Researchers and Professors, and Multinational Executives and Managers
- EB-2: Exceptional People and Advanced Degree Holders
- EB-3: Bachelor’s Degree Holders, Skilled Workers, and Unskilled Workers
- EB-4: Special Immigrants
- EB-5: Investors
Now let’s continue…
The Bottom Line
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.
- Due to COVID-19’s impact on Oppenheim’s ability to analyze government datasets, his analysis for August does not contain forward-looking projections.
- 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 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 will 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.
|Change in Wait Time|
|General Category||15-Aug-14||8-Jul-14||-1 month, 1 week|
|China||15-Aug-14||8-Jul-14||-1 month, 1 week|
|India||15-Aug-14||8-Jul-14||-1 month, 1 week|
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
|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.
|Change in Wait Time|
|General Category||8-Jun-15||1-May-15||-1 month, 1 week|
|China||8-Jun-15||1-May-15||-1 month, 1 week|
|India||8-Jun-15||1-May-15||-1 month, 1 week|
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
|Change in Wait Time|
|General Category||1-Jun-08||8-May-08||-3 weeks, 1 day|
|China||1-Jun-08||8-May-08||-3 weeks, 1 day|
|India||1-Jun-08||8-May-08||-3 weeks, 1 day|
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
|Change in Wait Time|
|General Category||8-Sep-06||22-Aug-06||-2 weeks, 3 days|
|China||8-Sep-06||22-Aug-06||-2 weeks, 3 days|
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
Change in Wait Time General Category No Wait No Wait No Change China 8-Feb-18 22-Aug-17 -5 months, 2 weeks, 3 days Central America No Wait No Wait No Change India 08Feb18 08May17 -9 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) 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
Change in Wait Time General Category No Wait No Wait No Change China 15-Jan-16 8-Nov-15 -2 months, 1 week 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, 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
Change in Wait Time General Category 01Apr19 15Apr18 -11 months, 2 weeks, 3 days China 15-Feb-17 22-Jun-16 -7 months, 3 weeks, 3 days Central America 01Apr19 15Apr18 -11 months, 2 weeks, 3 days India 1-Oct-09 1-Jun-09 -4 months Mexico 01Apr19 15Apr18 -11 months, 2 weeks, 3 days Philippines 01Apr19 15Apr18 -11 months, 2 weeks, 3 days Vietnam 01Apr19 15Apr18 -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.
Category Country New
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 01Feb17 -2 months 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 8-Aug-15 22-Jul-15 -2 weeks, 3 days 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 22-Jul-17 15-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.