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 7.1% of the yearly worldwide limit of employment-based immigrant visas (140,000) are allocated to the Employment-Based Immigration (Fourth Preference), EB-4 visas. 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 not necessary, the date you or the petitioning organisation filed the Form I-360 petition with USCIS will become your priority date. 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 – December 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 Apr 19||Current||01 Apr 19||Current||Current||Current|
|2nd||Current||01 May 16||Current||01 Oct 09||Current||Current||Current|
|3rd||Current||01 Nov 17||Current||15 Mar 10||Current||Current||Current|
|Other Workers||Current||15 Feb 09||Current||15 Mar 10||Current||Current||Current|
|4th||Current||Current||01 Feb 18||Current||22 Nov 18||Current||Current|
|Certain Religious Workers||Current||Current||01 Feb 18||Current||22 Nov 18||Current||Current|
|5th Non-Regional Center (C5 and T5)||Current||15 Aug 15||Current||Current||Current||Current||01 Sep 17|
|5th Regional Center (I5 and R5)||Current||15 Aug 15||Current||Current||Current||Current||01 Sep 17|
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 Nov 20||Current||01 Nov 20||Current||Current|
|2nd||Current||01 Oct 16||Current||15 May 11||Current||Current|
|3rd||Current||01 Jun 18||Current||01 Jan 14||Current||Current|
|Other Workers||Current||01 May 09||Current||01 Jan 14||Current||Current|
|4th||Current||Current||01 May 18||Current||Current||Current|
|Certain Religious Workers||Current||Current||01 May 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 December 2020, USCIS announced to use the Chart B – Dates for Filing.