Family Visa Bulletin:
October 2020 Analysis & Predictions

All Countries | Mexico | Philippines | India F4

November 2020 Predictions

All Countries – Latest Visa Bulletin

Preference
Final Action
Movement
Remark

🌐All Countries Visa Bulletin for October 2020

F1Sep 15, 2014NoneIn spite of the Green Card suspension, Fiscal Year 2020 (from Oct '19 to Sep '20) was the best of the last 20 years, which did not make much sense. So beyond stability in the next few months, a substantial retrogression is to be feared in the early months of 2021.F1 Predictions
F2AOct 1, 2020+4 weeksIt was expected for F2A to stay 'current' considering that it was 'current' before the pandemic and less applicants are being processed since. When F2A Consular Processing resumes however, we are talking about trying to fit 18 months of demand into a 9-month window. This is likely to lead to a cut-off date being re-established in the first few months of 2021.F2A Predictions
F2BJul 8, 2015NoneF2B progressed more after the pandemic (from Apr '20 to Sep '20) than before (from Oct '19 to Mar '20), which was very surprising. Especially after a Fiscal Year 2019 which was by far the best of the last 20 years. This seems to indicate that there is difficulty generating enough documentarily qualified candidates in this category. Which might in turn limit risks of retrogressions if any.F2B Predictions
F3Jun 15, 2008NoneF3 shares the same pattern as F2B. It progressed more after the pandemic (from Apr '20 to Sep '20) than before (from Oct '19 to Mar '20), in spite of the Visa Office indicating that the pace of advancement would slo down (it never did). Bottom line is that F3 is trending materially above its long-term averages and risks of retrogression in 2021 are significant.F3 Predictions
F4Sep 22, 2006NoneIn Feb '20, F4 suffered a retrogression. The Visa Office said at the time that it was due to a 'dramatic increase' in the number of Documentarily Qualified (DQ) applications, and that they felt they had enough application for the entire Fiscal Year (so until September 2020). Considering that very few of these DQ applications ended up having an Interview, that backlog is still there. As a result, if there is any movement in Fiscal Year 2021, it should be very limited.F4 Predictions

Mexico – Latest Visa Bulletin

Preference
Final Action
Movement
Remark

🇲🇽Mexico Visa Bulletin for October 2020

F1Jan 8, 1998NoneThe advancement of the second half of Fiscal Year 2020 was surprinsgly strong considering that Green Card issuance essentially stopped. In hindsight, it looks more like the Visa Office just could not bother adjusting its approach to a totally new situation. Anticipate stagnation in the months ahead.F1 Predictions
F2AOct 1, 2020+4 weeksIt was expected for F2A to stay 'current' considering that it was 'current' before the pandemic and less applicants are being processed since. When F2A Consular Processing resumes however, we are talking about trying to fit 18 months of demand into a 9-month window. This is likely to lead to a cut-off date being re-established in the first few months of 2021.F2A Predictions
F2BApr 8, 1999NoneThe advancement of the second half of Fiscal Year 2020 was surprinsgly strong considering that Green Card issuance essentially stopped. In hindsight, it looks more like the Visa Office just could not bother adjusting its approach to a totally new situation. Anticipate stagnation in the months ahead. F2B Predictions
F3Aug 1, 1996NoneThe advancement of the second half of Fiscal Year 2020 was surprinsgly strong considering that Green Card issuance essentially stopped. In hindsight, it looks more like the Visa Office just could not bother adjusting its approach to a totally new situation. Anticipate stagnation in the months ahead. F3 Predictions
F4Jun 22, 1998NoneThe advancement of the second half of Fiscal Year 2020 was surprinsgly strong considering that Green Card issuance essentially stopped. In hindsight, it looks more like the Visa Office just could not bother adjusting its approach to a totally new situation. Anticipate stagnation in the months ahead. F4 Predictions

Philippines – Latest Visa Bulletin

Preference
Final Action
Movement
Remark

🇵🇭Philippines Visa Bulletin for October 2020

F1 Dec 15, 2011NoneWhen making a point of the remarkable ineptitude of the Visa Office, observers often point to its treatment of PHIL cutoff dates. The incredible advancement of F1 in Fiscal Year 2020 will certainly give critics more ammunition. Who would advance a Final Action Date (FAD) during a pandemic year as much as the prior 5 years combined? Well, the same people who had the same FAD in early 2015 as in early 2018, but managed to have two massive retrogressions in-between (including a 5-year retrogression).F1 Predictions
F2AOct 1, 2020+4 weeksIt was expected for F2A to stay 'current' considering that it was 'current' before the pandemic and less applicants are being processed since. When F2A Consular Processing resumes however, we are talking about trying to fit 18 months of demand into a 9-month window. This is likely to lead to a cut-off date being re-established in the first few months of 2021.F2A Predictions
F2BAug 1, 2011NoneOver the last 20 years, the best advancement for F2B-Phil was 2012 with 16 months. Then, came the pandemic year of 2020 when the Visa Office thought it would be a good idea to advance F2B by 36 months.... Just like mad Doctors packing the waiting room with patients that they will never be able to see.F2B Predictions
F3Feb 15, 2002NoneIn the last two Fiscal Years of 2019 and 2020, F3 has moved forward as much as it did between 2004 and 2018. Even compared to their comrades F1-Phil and F2B-Phil, this might 'take the cake', as they say in the United States. This is clearly another reckless attempt by the Visa Office at creating Documentarily Qualified candidates that they did not even bother altering in the second half of a pandemic year. The timing of the retrogression is hard to time with that kind of erratic behavior, but it is going to be brutal and felt for years.F3 Predictions
F4Jan 1, 2002NoneThe Visa Office set F4-Phil on this crazy upward trajectory since December 2019, making the last two Fiscal Years of 2019 and 2020 very different from anything we had ever seen. We are running out of words to describe the very poor approach and performance of the Visa Office with Phil. It feels like a concerted effort to learn nothing. Here also retrogression / long periods of stagnation are around the corner.F4 Predictions

India – Latest Visa Bulletin

Preference
Final Action
Movement
Remark

🇮🇳India Visa Bulletin for October 2020

F4Mar 8, 2005NoneWhat goes for F4-All Countries generally goes for F4-India, although generally at a slower pace. So there was no reason to believe that F4-India would expect the general 'hold', and that did not happen. The fact is, however, that the last 5 Fiscal Years (2016 - 2020) have been below the 20-year average. In normal times, we would be expecting a bit of a 'catch-up', but these are not quite normal times, so we will have to see...F4 Predictions

Your Green Card Timeline, Personalized
Your key dates based on…

  • Immigration Planner’s Visa Bulletin Predictions;
  • Feedback from member of our community;
  • Latest USCIS and NVC Processing Times.
Get Your Timeline

Frequently Asked Questions

Your Priority Date is the date when Form I-130 filed by the sponsor is accepted by USCIS. Form I-130 is accepted by USCIS when all required fields are filled out, the proper fee is enclosed, and the form is signed. As a result, ‘accepted’, is a few days after ‘received’ and a few months and years before ‘approved’. The Priority Date is displayed on the receipt sent by USCIS (Form I-797C).

Applicants who are eligible under a ‘preference’ classification (F1, F2A, F2B, F3, F4) have a Priority Date, because they are subject to Annual Numerical Limits: the number of Green Cards that can be granted annually under their ‘preference’ is capped.

Note: If you have a Receipt Date, and not a Priority Date, then you are an ‘immediate relative’ and the Visa Bulletin does not apply to you.

The ‘Final Action Date’ (F.A.D.) that applies to you depends on your ‘country of chargeability’ (All Countries, Mexico, the Philippines, and India for F4) and your ‘immigration category’ (F1, F2A, F2B, F3, and F4).

Your ‘country of chargeability’ is generally the country where you were born. If you were not born in Mexico, the Philppines or India, then your country of chargeability is ‘All Countries’. You can read the FAQ ‘What is your country of chargeability?’ if you are in doubt.

Your ‘immigration category’ depends on the sponsor’s legal status (U.S. Citizen or Green Card Holder), the family relationship between applicant and sponsor (spouse, child, or sibling), the age of the applicant (20 years or younger, 21 years or older), and the marital status of the applicant (married, or not married).

Your country of chargeability is where you were born, not where you currently reside. For example, applicants who were born in the Philippines but who currently hold a French passport will be ‘charged’ to the Philippines, not France.

There are however instances where applicants can be ‘charged’ to a country that is not the country where they were born. This matters only to applicants who were born in Mexico, the Philippines and F4-India applicants:

  • Spouses who are immigrating together, but were born in different countries, can pick the most beneficial country of chargeability
  • F2A-Spouses whose lawful permanent resident spouse was born in a different country may use the lawful permanent resident spouse’s country of chargeability, if more favorable
  • Children can cross-charge to a country of chargeability of the parent he or she is immigrating with or following to join
  • If a person is born in country where neither of his or her parents had citizenship or permanent residence, the person’s country of chargeability can be the country of either of his parents’ birth.

Your immigration category depends on the sponsor’s legal status (U.S. Citizen or Green Card Holder), the family relationship between applicant and sponsor (spouse, child, or sibling), the age of the applicant (20 years or younger, 21 years or older), and the marital status of the applicant (married, or not married):

Sponsor's Status
Family Relationship
Applicant's Marital Status
Applicant's Age
Immigration Category
Green Card HolderSpouseMarried20- or 21+F2A
Green Card HolderChildMarried20- or 21+F2B
Green Card HolderChildNot Married20-F2A
Green Card HolderChildNot Married21+F2B
U.S. CitizenChildNot Married20- or 21+F1
U.S. CitizenChildMarried20- or 21+F3
U.S. CitizenSiblingMarried or Not Married20- or 21+F4

Immigration Category Change
The applicant’s immigration category may change if the applicant gets married, turns 21, or if the sponsor gets married:

Initial Category
Change in Marital Status
Applicant's Age
Sponsor becomes a U.S. Citizen
New category
F2A ChildApplicant gets married--F2B
F2A Child-Applicant turns 21 and is not CSPA protected-F2B
F2A Child or SpouseSponsor becomes a USCImmediate Relative Child or Spouse
F2B--Sponsor becomes a USCF1 ('opt-out' possible)
F1Applicant gets married--F3
F3Applicant gets divorced--F1

‘Derivative Applicants’ who are the children of ‘Principal Applicants’ will no longer be eligible for a Green Card if:

  • They get married; or
  • They turn 21 and are not CSPA protected.

The Visa Bulletin that is in effect for a calendar month is the one that is ‘current’. In other words, during the calendar month of October, the dates of the October Visa Bulletin apply. The dates of the November Visa Bulletin do not apply in October, even if the November Visa Bulletin is released in early October.

If your immigration category is F1, F2A, F2B, F3, F4 and if you live in the United States and you are going through Adjustment of Status, then you can use the Filing Date to determine whether you are allowed to file Form I-485.

Less than 2% of all Family Green Card applicants can use the Filing Date (15,000 out of 800,000 in Fiscal Year 2016). The main reasons the Filing Date is not used are:

  • Filing Date cannot be used by applicants going through Consular Processing
  • Most applicants going through Adjustment of Status are Immediate Relatives, not ‘preference’ applicants who have to maintain valid U.S. status for extended periods of time.

Unfortunately no. The dates listed in the Visa Bulletin are the first date for which a Green Card number is not available. For example, if the Final Action Date is Jan 1st 2016, applicants with a Priority Date of Jan 1st 2016 are not ‘current’ when compared to the Final Action Date.

In theory yes, in reality no.

The Welcome Letter is sent by the National Visa Center (NVC) to family applicants under a ‘preference’ classification (F1, F2A, F2B, F3, F4) going through Consular Processing. Welcome Letters contain information that enable applicants who have an approved I-130 to file their Green Card Application.

So Filing Dates and Welcome Letters have the same purpose: determining when applicants can file their Green Card application whether through Form I-485 (adjustment of status) or Form DS-260 (Consular Processing). In theory, they should be the same. Filing Dates should simply ‘expose’ when applicants are within 12 months of their Final Action Dates becoming current. That way the NVC could make sure that Green Card applications are ‘interview-ready’ and schedule the Interview as soon as the Final Action Date becomes current.

Unfortunately, the reality is that generally Filing Dates do not become current within 12 months, and that Welcome Letters are generally sent when the Final Action Date is current, or about to become current.

That is why Immigration Planner releases Predictions about Final Action Dates, and not Filing Dates.

It depends. In order to see what our latest conclusions are, please read our post dedicated to this issue.

The process of scheduling the interview is initiated by U.S. immigration agencies when the following two requirements are met:

  • The applicant’s Priority Date is ‘current’ when compared to the relevant ‘Final Action Date’
  • The applicant’s Green Card Case is ‘interview-ready’ (also called ‘case complete’ or ‘documentarily qualified’, meaning that all the proper Forms, Evidence, and Fees necessary to make a decision on the Green Card Application have been received by U.S. Immigration Agencies).

Being ‘current’ means that the applicant’s Priority Date (which is when Form I-130 was filed) is ‘earlier’ than the relevant Final Action Date. If the relevant Final Action Date is January 1st 2018, then applicants with a Priority Date ‘earlier’ (that is up to December 31st 2016) are said to be current.
The relevant Final Action Date refers to the Final Action Date that applies to applicants based on their preference classification (F1, F2A, F2B, F3, F4) and countries of birth (Mexico, All Countries, …).

The month when the applicant’s Priority Date is current, U.S. Immigration agencies look for an available Interview slot in the month after next (if the applicant’s priority date becomes current in January, then they will start looking for slots in March). How long applicants wait depend on how busy the U.S. Consulate or USCIS Field office is.

Here are some of the things Immigration Planner’s tools help you think through while you wait:

  1. Maintaining your eligibility to your Green Card category. Things might for instance change if you get married!
  2. For applicants living in the United States, maintaining your eligibility to the adjustment of status process
  3. Establishing if you will need a waiver, and getting ready if you do
  4. Anticipate if there is a risk for your children to ‘age-out’ and whether the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) might protect them
  5. Anticipate whether the sponsor becoming a U.S Citizen could be favorable, or would lead you to ‘opt-out’ of your new immigration category
  6. Be prepared to file the rest of the Green Card application as soon as U.S. immigration agencies allow it.

‘Documentarily qualified’, ‘Case complete’, ‘pre-processing’, ‘interview-ready’ all mean that U.S. immigration agencies have received all the Forms, Evidence, and Fees necessary to make a decision on the Green Card application. This is an administrative assessment that all the Forms and Documents have been filed because when they are not, a Request for Evidence is issued.

For ‘preference’ applicants who have a ‘current’ Priority Date when compared to the Final Action Date, the next step depends on the Green Card Process:

  • For applicants going through Consular Processing, the National Visa Center (NVC) will transfer the Green Card application to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad (outside the United States)
  • For applicants going through Adjustment of Status, the National Benefit Center (NBC) will transfer the Green Card application to a USCIS Field Office (inside the United States)

The decision about the Green Card application will be made by the Consular Officer (a Department of State employee) for Consular Processing, or the Adjudicating Officer (a USCIS employee) for Adjustment of Status.

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Guides

We did the research so you don’t have to.

How to file perfect USCIS forms for your family-based Green Card.

What you need to know about NVC form DS-260 before and after you file.

6 important steps to complete, latest news and updates, and FAQ.

FAQ, tips and details about NVC steps and how to do accomplish this online.