Visa Bulletin for February 2020


The latest green card waiting lists as of January 2020, with predictions from a State Department official

Jan 24, 2020


Official stamps an immigration visa application form.

The U.S. Department of State released its Visa Bulletin for February 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:

Family-based categories

Employment-based categories


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The Bottom Line

The February 2020 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:

  • While F-2A dates remain current, Oppenheim plans to impose final action dates within the next few months across all categories for this visa.

In employment-based categories:

  • Oppenheim notes that EB-3 Worldwide and EB-3 Other Workers Worldwide will become subject to a final action date in March 2020.
  • The final action date for EB-3 Philippines advances 2.5 months, exceeding earlier advancement projected. The reason for this is to allow for additional number usage before EB-3 Worldwide becomes subject to a final action date in March 2020.
  • Given current demand trends, Oppenehim also expects to impose a final action date for EB-4 India as early as July 2020.
  • Oppenehim says the final action date for EB-1 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico Philippines and Vietnam) may possibly, although this unconfirmed, become current in the summer of 2020.

    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 February, 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.

    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 Category22-Aug-1315-Jul-13-1 month, 1 week
    China22-Aug-1315-Jul-13-1 month, 1 week
    India22-Aug-1315-Jul-13-1 month, 1 week
    Mexico22-Aug-978-Aug-97-2 weeks
    Philippines1-Apr-0915-Jan-09-2 months, 2 weeks, 3 days

    This category sees some movement for most countries, but again Mexico experiences a stalemate:

    • All countries, except Mexico, see progress, by at least 2 months
    • The Philippines advances by 2 months and 2 weeks, after slowing in December

    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 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 DateOld Cut-off DateChange in Wait Time
    General Category22-Aug-148-Aug-14-2 weeks
    China22-Aug-148-Aug-14-2 weeks
    India22-Aug-148-Aug-14-2 weeks
    Mexico15-Sep-9822-Aug-98-3 weeks, 1 day
    Philippines1-May-091-Feb-09-3 months

    In February, there is movement for all countries but not large advances, mostly modest ones,

      • Three-month advance for the Philippines, continuing on an advancing trend dating from October
      • Two week advance for all other categories, except Mexico which sees a three week advance

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

    CountryNew Cut-off DateOld Cut-off DateChange in Wait Time
    General Category22-Nov-0715-Nov-07-1 week
    China22-Nov-0715-Nov-07-1 week
    India22-Nov-0715-Nov-07-1 week
    Mexico22-Mar-961-Mar-96-3 weeks
    Philippines1-May-991-Jan-99-4 months

    All countries continue to slow at around one-week but no country stalls:

      • One-week advances for General Category, India, and China
      • Four-month advance for the Philippines
      • Three-week advance for Mexico

    F-4: siblings of U.S. citizens

    CountryNew Cut-off DateOld Cut-off DateChange in Wait Time
    General Category1-Jul-061-Feb-07+7 months
    China1-Jul-061-Feb-07+7 months
    India22-Nov-048-Nov-04-2 weeks
    Mexico15-Jan-988-Jan-98-1 week
    Philippines1-Jul-991-Mar-99-4 months

    The General Category and China move backwards, most other countries see moderate advances:

  • The Philippines sees a four-month progression
  • Mexico experiences a one-week advance
  • Two-week advance for India.
  • General Category and China retrogress by seven months

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

CountryNew Cut-off DateOld Cut-off DateChange in Wait Time
General Category1-Dec-181-Oct-18-2 months
China22-May-1722-May-17No Change
Central America1-Dec-181-Oct-18-2 months
India01Jan1501Jan15No Change
Mexico1-Dec-181-Oct-18-2 months
Philippines1-Dec-181-Oct-18-2 months
Vietnam1-Dec-181-Oct-18-2 months

Movement picks up across this category but India and China see no change:

  • Two-month advances for the General Category, Central America, Vietnam and the Philippines

EB-2: exceptional people and advanced degree holders

CountryNew Cut-off DateOld Cut-off DateChange in Wait Time
General CategoryNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
China15-Jul-151-Jul-15-2 weeks
Central AmericaNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
India19-May-0918-May-09-1 day
MexicoNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
PhilippinesNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
VietnamNo WaitNo WaitNo Change

No change for most of the category, except for India and China:

  • No visa wait time for the General Category, Central America, Mexico, Vietnam and the Philippines
  • Two-week advance for China
  • One-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-161-Dec-15-1 month
Central AmericaNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
India8-Jan-091-Jan-09-1 week
MexicoNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
Philippines1-Jun-1815-Mar-18-2 months, 2 weeks, 3 days
VietnamNo WaitNo WaitNo Change

This month continues to see no visa wait times for the General Category, Mexico, Central America, and Vietnam. Other countries see sight forward movement:

  • Visas remain current for General Category, Mexico, Central America, and Vietnam
  • One-week advance for India
  • China sees one-month advance
  • The Philippines experiences an over two-month advance

Finally, just to be complete about all of this: In the EB-4 “special immigrants” category, visa numbers are newly available this month, with no wait times for the General Category, China, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam. There is no advance for Central America, and only a slight advance for Mexico.

In the EB-5 category, no real changes are seen, except for China, India and Vietnam that experience moderate advances:

CategoryCountryNew Cut-off DateOld Cut-off DateChange in Wait Time
EB-4: Special ImmigrantsGeneral CategoryNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
ChinaNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
Central America01Jul1601Jul16No Change
IndiaNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
Mexico1Sep178Aug17-3 weeks, 1 day
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-Dec-1422-Nov-14-1 week, 2 days
Central AmericaNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
India1-Sep-181-May-18-4 months
MexicoNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
PhilippinesNo WaitNo WaitNo Change
Vietnam15-Dec-168-Dec-16-1 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.


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