The Visa Bulletin of the US State Department shows backlogs in getting green cards in both the family and the employment-based categories. The time that it will take you to get a green card depends on the category of your petition and your country of birth. The Visa Bulletin is updated on a monthly basis.
You can stay up-to-date with the waiting times in the Visa Bulletin by subscribing to our Free E-Mail Newsletter.
How rapidly will your priority date in the Visa Bulletin advance or retrogress in the coming months? Click on the link to the Visa Bulletin Predictions by the State Department’s Charlie Oppenheim.
The USCIS will honor the Final Action Dates chart, rather than the Dates for Filing chart, in September. The State Department has announced that EB-1 India has been unavailable since early July and that September cutoff dates will take effect immediately for EB-1 China and EB-3 China and India. It is not yet known whether USCIS will apply these retrogressions immediately, or if it will continue to accept I-485s where the priority dates are current on the August Visa Bulletin for the remainder of the month. When such retrogressions have occurred in the past, the USCIS has accepted applications and held them until priority dates became current again.
Most immigrant visas to the US 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 family members or through employment or investment in the United States.
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The employment-based (EB) categories in the Visa Bulletin are as follows:
- EB-1 Priority Workers
- EB-2 Advanced Degree Professionals
- EB-3 Professionals & Other Workers
- EB-4 Religious Workers & Others
- EB-5 Investors
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 or the I-526). Watch our EB videos to see various methods of shortening your waiting time for a green card.
VISA BULLETIN – EMPLOYMENT
A. FINAL ACTION DATES FOR EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CASES
B. DATES FOR FILING OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA APPLICATIONS
VISA BULLETIN – FAMILY
The family-based categories in the visa bulletin are as follows:
- F-1 Unmarried Adult Sons & Daughters of US Citizens
- F-2A Spouses & Children of LPRs
- F-2B Unmarried Adult Sons & Daughters of LPRs
- F-3 Married Sons & Daughters of US citizens
- F-4 Brothers & Sisters of US Citizens
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 may be able to shorten your waiting time, see our video above.
A priority date is established by the submission of a relative visa petition in the family categories.
The word “Current”in the Visa Bulletin 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.
A. FINAL ACTION DATES FOR FAMILY-SPONSORED CASES – These dates are consistent with prior visa bulletin priority dates.
B. FAMILY-SPONSORED FILING DATE CHART – The chart below reflects dates for filing visa applications within a time frame justifying immediate action in the application process. Applicants for immigrant visas who have a priority date earlier than the application date in the chart may assemble and submit required documents to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, following receipt of notification from the National Visa Center containing detailed instructions. The application date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who cannot submit documentation to the National Visa Center for an immigrant visa.
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening a firm specializing exclusively in US immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.
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