Every month the US Department of State publishes the visa bulletin to show which family-based and employment-based green cards applications can move forward to apply for the visa. Every fiscal year (1st of October – 30th of September), approximately 140,000 employment-based visas are available to qualified applicants and each country is limited to receive 7% of green card (which is 9,800). As a result, applicants from countries with high number of applications such as China and India may need to wait awhile to submit their application.
When reading the visa bulletin, the most important word you need to become familiar with is “priority date”. Since labor certification is required for all three EB-3 visa categories, the priority date will be the date on which the US Department of Labor (DOL) receives the Permanent Labor Certification (PERM) – ETA Form 9089. If you see a “Current (C)” in the box where your column meets your row, that means there is no quota backlog and you can now file your Form I-485.
If in case there is a date, that is the “cut-off date”. To check when you can file your application, you will need to compare this date with your priority date. If your priority date is on or before the cut-off date, this means that you can file your application now but if your priority date is after the cut-off date you will need to keep waiting.
Another important word that you must be aware of is the “final action date”. This date is a cut-off date that controls visa number available for this month. If it shows “Current (C)” on the chart, then your pending application is eligible for approval. If your priority date is before the final action, this means your pending application is ready for approval.
Visa Bulletin – September 2020
Chart A – Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases:
This chart shows which of the priority dates are now at the front of line for approval
|World||China||El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras||India||Mexico||Philippines||Vietnam|
|1st||Current||01 Jun 18||Current||01 Jun 18||Current||Current||Current|
|2nd||Current||01Mar 16||Current||01 Sep 09||Current||Current||Current|
|3rd||Current||01 Jul 17||Current||15 Jan 10||Current||Current||Current|
|Other Workers||Current||01 Dec 08||Current||15 Jan 10||Current||Current||Current|
|4th||Current||Current||01 Aug 17||Current||01 Sep 18||Current||Current|
|Certain Religious Workers||Unauthorised||Unauthorised||Unauthorised||Unauthorised||Unauthorised||Unauthorised||Unauthorised|
|5th Non-Regional Center (C5 and T5)||Current||15 Aug 15||Current||Current||Current||Current||01 Aug 2017|
|5th Regional Center (I5 and R5)||Unauthorised||Unauthorised||Unauthorised||Unauthorised||Unauthorised||Unauthorised||Unauthorised|
Chart B – Dates for Filing of Employment-Based Visa Applications:
This chart is primarily directed for applicants who will be applying for the visa application from outside of the US, it shows whether or not you can submit the visa application
|World||China||El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras||India||Mexico||Philippines|
|1st||Current||01 Sep 20||Current||01 Sep 20||Current||Current|
|2nd||Current||01 Oct 16||Current||15 May 11||Current||Current|
|3rd||Current||01 Jun 18||Current||01 Jan 15||Current||Current|
|Other Workers||Current||01 Oct 08||Current||01 Jan 15||Current||Current|
|4th||Current||Current||01 Feb 18||Current||Current||Current|
|Certain Religious Workers||Current||Current||01 Feb 18||Current||Current||Current|
|5th Non-Regional Center (C5 and T5)||Current||15 Dec 15||Current||Current||Current||Current|
|5th Regional Center (I5 and R5)||Current||15 Dec 15||Current||Current||Current||Current|
Note: For applicants filing the Form I-485, every month USCIS also publishes a page called “Adjustment of Status Filing Charts from the Visa Bulletin” to indicate which chart they will use to accept the applications. For October 2020, USCIS announced to use the Chart B – Dates for Filing of Employment-Based Visa Applications.