The State Department has released their visa bulletin for the month of January 2021. 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 (or an I-485 Adjustment of Status 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 your category corresponds with a “C” on the bulletin, you can go ahead and prepare your paperwork for a green card 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, consular processing applicants should refer to their date for filing in their corresponding category for either family/employment-based immigration.
In addition, if a category is marked with a “U” this means that immigrant visas are temporarily unavailable to all applicants.
We will first start with the final action dates for family-based immigration. This is the first table provided in the State Department’s bulletin. For February, among the F1, F2A, F2B, F3, and F4 categories, F2A remains the only category that is current. This was also the case for applicants in January 2021. The F2A visa will likely remain current for March 2021 as well. The table looks almost identical to the Visa Bulletin for January 2021 except that the F2B and F3 for Mexican applicants have changed by one month. For applicants of this category, please see if the final action date applies to your scenario.
Next is the Dates for Filing, showing applicants if they can actually submit their paperwork/documentation based on the Visa Bulletin dates provided. This is the second table on the Visa Bulletin and will reflect family-based immigration.
The biggest “jump” in Dates for Filing occurs in the F2A category for applicants that are not from China (mainland), India, Mexico, or the Philippines. In January 2021, the date for filing an F2A visa application was August 1st, 2020. On this month’s bulletin, the date for filing has jumped to January 1st, 2021. In other words, applicants who had an I-130 petition filed on their behalf, this Fall can now file their immigrant visa application if they are in this category.
The employment visa bulletin generally sees more “Current” dates because of the supply of difference in the supply of immigrant visas in certain categories.
For final action dates of February 2021, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and Religious Workers categories are all “Current” with the exception of the following countries: China (mainland), Central Am., India, Mexico, Philippines and Vietnam.
China (mainland) is currently oversubscribed for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, “Other Workers”, and the Immigrant Investor Category. 4th, and Religious Workers category remains Current.
Central Am. is Current for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Other Workers, and the Immigrant Investor Category. These countries remain oversubscribed in the 4th employment-based category as well as Religious workers.
India is currently oversubscribed for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and Other Workers Category. India remains Current for 4th, Religious Workers, and Immigrant Investors.
Mexico is Current in every category except for 4th (Certain Special Immigrants), and Religious Workers.
The Philippines is Current in every category in the final action date table for employment-based immigration.
Vietnam is Current for every category except Immigrant Investors (C5 and T5).
The following is reflective of Dates for Filing for Employment-Based Visa Applications:
Applicants from every country except China (mainland), Central Am., India, Mexico, Philippines, and Vietnam have a “Current” date for filing.
China (mainland) is oversubscribed in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Other Workers, and Immigrant Investors categories.
Central Am., is Current in every category except for 4th and Religious Workers.
India is oversubscribed in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and Other Workers Categories.
Mexico and the Philippines have a current date for filing in all employment-based categories.
China (mainland) and Vietnam are the only countries in February 2021 that remain oversubscribed for immigrant investors. This shows there is a higher demand for these types of employment-based visas from these countries, as compared to the rest of the world. It might also be associated with the fact that certain industry experts are eligible for these types of visas from both Vietnam and China (mainland).
In addition, both India and China (mainland) continue to lead in the most amount (highest demand) of employment-based visas in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and Special Immigrant categories. This is associated with a higher level of STEM applicants in both of these countries.
As per family-based immigration, things are looking relatively the same. Visa wait times and backlogs continue, especially for applicants from Mexico in several family-based categories (going back at least 10 years).