This bulletin is meant to reflect the list of final action dates—indicating whether or not it is expected an immigrant visa number will be available, as well as dates for filing—when an applicant can actually submit their visa application. Both employment-based visa and family preference visas are included in each monthly bulletin.
As mentioned, the “C” on the State Department visa bulletin signifies the word “Current” meaning that a visa is available, or that the applicant may file paperwork for their visa application.
If a category is indicated with any specific date, that means the category is currently “oversubscribed” and the applicant must wait until the priority date is reached in order to file their paperwork. For example, for those in the consular processing route applying for an F2B visa to travel to the United States, if you are wanting to file your DS-260, you must wait until the final action date for your country.
In addition, if a category is marked with a “U” this means that immigrant visas are temporarily unavailable to all applicants.
In the family-based categories for final action dates—F1, F2A, F2B, F3, and F4, F2A remains the only category that is Current while everything else is oversubscribed. The F2A visa allows U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to petition on behalf of their spouse or children. This visa category was also current in December 2020.
Mexico has the longest backlog when it comes to family-sponsored visas, going back as far as August 22nd, 1996 for F3 visas. In addition, the priority date with the least wait time is the F2B category for unmarried sons and daughters of LPRs.
In terms of dates for filing in the family-based categories (i.e. submitting a DS-260), all of the family preference visa categories are oversubscribed. On the State Department’s second table listed, the F2A category hosts the shortest wait times for filing. For example in India, China (Mainland), Mexico, and the Philippines, the same date for filing applies—August 1st, 2020. This is important for receiving benefits prior to receiving a green card in general, like receiving travel documents to the United States or work authorization.
Also on the second table provided, we see that F3 and F4 dates for filing experience the longest wait time, as these visas, in some cases going back to March, 1st, 2002 for Filipino applicants in the F3 category. Longer wait times in this category is due to the fact that the USCIS only issues 23,400 F3 visas each year.
There are approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas made available to qualified applicants annually.
For final action dates, there are many visa categories that are “Current” for EB1, EB2, and EB3 applicants. These include:
EB-1, Priority Workers—Current for all countries except those listed. Oversubscribed in China with a priority date of September 1st, 2019, Current for El Sal/Honduras/Guatemala, a Priority date for India of September 1st, 2019, and Current for Mexico, Philippines, and Vietnam.
EB-2, Professionals with advanced degrees— Current for all countries except those listed. Oversubscribed in China with a priority date of June 1st, 2016, Current for El Sal/Honduras/Guatemala, Oversubscribed for India with a priority date of October 8th, 2009, and Current in Mexico, Philippines, and Vietnam.
EB-3, Skilled Workers and 2-year professionals— Current for all countries except those listed. Oversubscribed in China with priority date of December 15th, 2017. Current for El Sal/Honduras/Guatemala, Oversubscribed for India with a priority date of March 22nd, 2010, and current for Mexico, Philippines, and Vietnam.
EB-4, International Org. Workers, Physicians— In this category, all countries remain current except for Central Am. countries with a priority date of March 1st, 2018, and Mexico with a priority date of December 1st, 2018.
Certain Religious Workers category is currently unavailable across the board.
The following applies for Dates for Filing:
- EB-1, All countries current except for China (mainland) and India with the same priority date: November 1st, 2020.
- EB-2, All countries current except for China (mainland) with priority date of October 1st, 2016 and India for May 15th, 2011.
- EB-3, All countries current except for China (mainland) with priority date of June 1st, 2018, and India for January 1st, 2014.
- EB-4, All countries current except for Central Am. countries with a priority date for filing of July 1st, 2018.
- Certain Religious Workers category is Current for filing, except in Central Am. countries, with a priority date of July 1st, 2018.