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October 2016 Visa Bulletin

Most immigrant visas to the U.S. are numerically limited both by preference category and by country of chargeability (which is, in most cases, one’s country of birth). Most immigrants are sponsored either by U.S. citizen or permanent resident relatives or, alternately, through their employment or investment in the United States. Scroll down this page to see the current State Department Visa Bulletin, showing backlogs in both the family and the employment-based categories.

If you are unfamiliar with the Visa Bulletin, read our explanation of the Employment Categories and the Family Categories. You should also note that the visa bulletin is backward-looking, meaning that it indicates how long people in a given category have been waiting for visas, not the waiting times for those currently applying.

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EMPLOYMENT-BASED CATEGORIES

The employment-based (EB) categories in the visa bulletin are as follows:

An applicant’s priority date is the day that the government received the employer’s PERM application. However, if a PERM application is not required, the priority date is the date the government received an EB visa petition (I-140, I-526). Watch our EB videos to see various methods of shortening your waiting time for a green card.

VISA BULLETIN – EMPLOYMENT

A. APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES FOR EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CASES– These dates are consistent with prior visa bulletin priority dates.

WorldChinaEl Salvador, Guatemala, HondurasIndiaMexicoPhilippines
1stCurrentCurrentCurrentCurrentCurrentCurrent
2ndCurrent2-15-12Current1-15-07CurrentCurrent
3rd6-01-161-22-136-01-163-01-056-01-1612-01-10
Unskilled6-01-161-05-056-01-163-01-056-01-1612-01-10
4thCurrentCurrent6-15-15CurrentCurrentCurrent
ReligiousUUUUUU
5th Non-Regional Center (C5 and T5)Current2-15-14CurrentCurrentCurrentCurrent
5th Regional Center (I5 and R5)UUUUUU

B. DATES FOR FILING OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA APPLICATIONS– These dates indicate when immigrant applicants can send adjustment of status applications without having to wait for their priority dates to become current.

WorldChinaIndiaMexicoPhilippines
1stCurrentCurrentCurrentCurrentCurrent
2ndCurrent3-01-134-22-09CurrentCurrent
3rdCurrent5-01-147-01-05Current9-01-13
UnskilledCurrent8-01-097-01-05Current9-01-13
4thCurrentCurrentCurrentCurrentCurrent
ReligiousCurrentCurrentCurrentCurrentCurrent
5th Non-Regional Center (C5 and T5)Current6-15-14CurrentCurrentCurrent
5th Regional Center (I5 and R5)Current6-15-14CurrentCurrentCurrent

FAMILY-BASED CATEGORIES

The family-based categories in the visa bulletin are as follows:

An applicant’s priority date is the day that the government received the I-130 Petition. For more on family-based visas and how you can shorten your application time, see Attorney Shusterman’s video near the top of this page.

VISA BULLETIN – FAMILY

A. APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES FOR FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCE CASES– These dates are consistent with prior visa bulletin priority dates.

WorldChinaIndiaMexicoPhilippines
1st9-22-099-22-099-22-094-01-958-01-05
2A12-22-1412-22-1412-22-1412-01-1412-22-14
2B3-15-103-15-103-15-1010-01-951-01-06
3rd12-22-0412-22-0412-22-0411-22-947-08-94
4th11-01-035-01-0312-01-025-01-974-15-93

B. DATES FOR FILING FAMILY-SPONSORED VISA APPLICATIONS– These dates indicate when immigrant applicants can send adjustment of status applications without having to wait for their priority dates to become current.

WorldChinaIndiaMexicoPhilippines
1st1-01-111-01-101-01-116-01-955-01-06
2A11-22-1511-22-1511-22-1511-22-1511-22-15
2B2-8-112-8-112-8-116-01-962-01-07
3rd8-22-058-22-058-22-055-01-951-01-95
4th7-15-047-15-045-01-0412-01-974-01-94

Persons born in countries other than India, China, Mexico and the Philippines should look in the “Worldwide” current on the left side of the Visa Bulletin to determine their “priority date”. A priority date is established by the submission of a relative visa petition in the family categories, and by either the submission of an application for alien labor certification or by the submission of an employment-based visa petition in the employment categories.

The word “Current” indicates that no backlog presently exists in a particular category. Alternately, the word “Unavailable” indicates that it is not possible to apply for permanent residence in that category.

The dates in the Visa Bulletin can be misleading. Some dates, particularly in the Employment Based Categories, are “current” now, but may backlog before you can say “I-485”. Others, particularly in the Family Based Categories, look closer on the Bulletin than they are in reality.

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