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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 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.

Employ-
ment
based
All Charge-
ability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
EL SALVADOR
GUATEMALA
HONDURAS
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C 01JAN12 C 01JAN12 C C
2nd C 01MAR13 C 01JUL08 C C
3rd 15APR17 01OCT14 15APR17 15MAY05 15APR17 01MAY13
Other Workers 15APR17 15JUL06 15APR17 15MAY05 15APR17 01MAY13
4th C C 15JUL15 C 15JUL15 C
Certain Religious Workers C C 15JUL15 C 15JUL15 C
5th
Non-Regional
Center
(C5 and T5)
C 08JUN14 C C C C
5th
Regional
Center
(I5 and R5)
C 08JUN14 C C C C

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.

Employment-
based
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
INDIA MEXICO  PHILIPPINES 
1st C C C C C
2nd C 01OCT13 01FEB09 C C
3rd C 01SEP15 22APR06 C 01JUL14
Other Workers C 01JUN08 22APR06 C 01JUL14
4th C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
5th
Non-Regional
Center
(C5 and T5)
C 01SEP14 C C C
5th
Regional
Center
(I5 and R5)
C 01SEP14 C C C

FAMILY-BASED CATEGORIES

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

Family-
Sponsored 
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-mainland
born
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 
F1 22DEC10 22DEC10 22DEC10 01SEP95 22APR06
F2A 15AUG15 15AUG15 15AUG15 22JUL15 15AUG15
F2B 22OCT10 22OCT10 22OCT10 08APR96 22SEP06
F3 01JUL05 01JUL05 01JUL05 22FEB95 08OCT94
F4 08MAY04 08MAY04 15SEP03 15JUL97 22NOV93

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.

Family-
Sponsored 
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 
F1 22JUL11 22JUL11 22JUL11 01APR96 08SEP07
F2A 08APR16 08APR16 08APR16 08APR16 08APR16
F2B 01SEP11 01SEP11 01SEP11 08AUG96 22JUL07
F3 01DEC05 01DEC05 01DEC05 01MAY95 01FEB95
F4 15NOV04 15NOV04 22JUN04 08JAN98 08FEB95

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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