F3-All Countries: Visa Bulletin Predictions

What is the latest?

Visa Bulletin Date:Oct 2020
Chargeability:All Countries
Final Action Date:Jun 15, 2008


What is our analysis of the latest?

F3 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.

See here for F3 Mexico and the Philippines.

How is F3-All Countries doing this year so far?

The present year is represented in bright green.

So we start every year at 0, and we look at the advancement month per month. This allows a quick comparison with happened over the last 5 years, as well as with the average of the last 20 years.

You can see that:

  • The advancement of F3-All Countries so far is in line with the average of the last 20 years
  • 2018 and 2019 were great years, and it really does not look like 2020 will be as strong a year

Note: Fiscal Year 2020 for U.S. Immigration Agencies is from October 1st, 2019 to September 30th, 2020 (it is different from a calendar year).

Let’s take a closer look at what happened over the last 6 months. Again the advancement has been solid (as it is in line with the average of the last 20 years), and April 2020 was a particularly strong month.

Last Six
Visa Bulletin
Final Action
Oct 2020Jun 15, 2008None
Sep 2020Jun 15, 2008+2 weeks
Aug 2020Jun 1, 2008+3 weeks
Jul 2020May 8, 2008+3 weeks
Jun 2020Apr 15, 2008+4 weeks
May 2020Mar 15, 2008+6 weeks

What does Immigration Planner predict?

First of all, note that our predictions is informed by the fact that F3-All Countries is currently materially above its 10-year trend. Also, as you can see, this preference has been stable for 8+ years. So the most likely scenario is for F3-All Countries to go back to its 10-year trend within the next 18 to 24 months.

Now that it has been established that you cannot hope for 2018 and 2019 to repeat themselves in 2020 or 2021, let’s look at the details of the predictions for the next few years.

Remember that for longer term predictions, and a full Green Card plan with Welcome Letter and Interview Date predictions, you need to access the more sophisticated parts of our website here (it takes less than 5 minutes to answer the 15 questions or so necessary to complete your full plan).

Our latest predictions for the Final Action Dates of F3 for 🌐All Countries.
Children of U.S. Citizens who are adults and married.

F3, All Countries – Final Action Dates Predictions FY2019 – FY2021:

Visa Bulletin
Final Action
Oct 2020Jun 15, 2008
Nov 2020Jan 1, 2008
Dec 2020Jan 22, 2008
Jan 2021Feb 15, 2008
Feb 2021Mar 8, 2008
Mar 2021Apr 1, 2008
Apr 2021Apr 22, 2008
May 2021May 15, 2008
Jun 2021Jun 8, 2008
Jul 2021Jul 1, 2008
Aug 2021Jul 22, 2008
Sep 2021Aug 22, 2008
Oct 2021Sep 8, 2008
Nov 2021Oct 1, 2008
Dec 2021Oct 22, 2008
Jan 2022Nov 22, 2008
Feb 2022Dec 15, 2008
Mar 2022Jan 8, 2009
Apr 2022Feb 1, 2009
May 2022Mar 1, 2009
Jun 2022Apr 1, 2009
Jul 2022May 1, 2009
Aug 2022May 22, 2009
Sep 2022Jun 22, 2009
Oct 2022Jul 8, 2009
Nov 2022Aug 8, 2009
Dec 2022Sep 8, 2009
Jan 2023Oct 15, 2009
Feb 2023Nov 15, 2009
Mar 2023Dec 15, 2009
Apr 2023Jan 15, 2010
May 2023Feb 22, 2010
Jun 2023Mar 22, 2010
Jul 2023May 1, 2010
Aug 2023Jun 1, 2010
Sep 2023Jul 8, 2010

Don’t see your Priority Date? Want to know when your Interview will take place? Get a detailed, personalized Timeline with Date Predictions for each step.

What does the Filing Date tell me?

We know that Applicants going through Adjustment of Status are often allowed to use the ‘Filing Date’ of the Visa Bulletin to determine when they are allowed to file Form I-485- and here is the latest:

Filing Date
Jun 1, 2009None✔︎ Yes, the Filing Date can be used

At the same time, we know that few F3 Applicants are filing for Adjustment of Status, so the question becomes: can the Filing Date be helpful to Applicants going through Consular Processing?

First, let’s take a look at how the Filing Date (in pink, and above) is moving compared to the Final Action Date (in blue, and below).

Note the following obvious points here:

  • The Filing Date is always ‘ahead’ of the ‘Final Action Date’, especially since early 2018. Nor surprise there, it is how it should be.
  • Instead of abrupt advancement followed by a plateau, the Filing Date tends to advance more in ‘synchronization’ with the Final Action Date. This is good. It makes it more helpful.
  • The Filing Date is more ‘ahead’ of the Final Action Date than it has ever been (about 243 days for the last 4 months). That tells you that the Visa Office remains optimistic about the trajectory, at least for the coming few months

But the more important and interesting question is to know howl long it takes for the Filing Date to become ‘current’ when compared to the Final Action Date. Remember, the Filing Date is supposed to be an ‘advanced warning’ to Applicants, essentially: ‘hey, if your Priority Date is ‘current’ when compared to the Filing Date, get ready to receive the Welcome Letter and go through the NVC’.

Traditionally, U.S. Immigration Agencies have said that the Filing Date is an ‘advanced warning’ a year ahead. In other words, the Filing Date indicates which Green Card cases are going to become ‘current’ within the next 12 months.

So, has it been true in the past? Let’s check that out. The following graph shows the number of days it took for the Filing Date of the Visa Bulletin to become ‘current’ when compared to the Final Action Date.
The pink line in the middle represents a year.

As you can see, since early 2017, the Filing Date of the Visa Bulletin for F3-All Countries becomes ‘current’ within a year. This is helpful. If you are in this situation, get ready (for details about what you should be working on, answer the questions here to build a detailed Plan & To Do list and learn how to navigate the NVC / CEAC).

The important point here though is that you cannot say that Filing Date = Welcome Letter. We are as frustrated as Applicants generally are about this. But, Filing Date is simply an indicator here. You need the Welcome Letter to proceed, and the Welcome Letter has its own ‘rhythm’ set by the NVC. The only thing that is certain is that you will receive a Welcome Letter if your Priority Date is ‘current’ when compared to the Final Action Date- hopefully as much as 6 months beforehand.

When will the Interview be scheduled?

Because F3 Applicants are overwhelmingly going through Consular Processing, let’s talk about them here. The NVC will initiate the process of scheduling the Interview at the end of the first month when the following two conditions are met:

  • The applicant’s Priority Date is ‘current’ when compared to the relevant ‘Final Action Date’;
  • The applicant’s Green Card Case is ‘case complete’.

So at the end of the month n, the NVC is going to ask U.S. Consulates abroad: ‘what are your availabilities for Green Card interviews during month n+2?’. If there are availabilities, then they will send Interview Letters at the beginning of Month n+1.
In other words, if you are ‘current’+ interview-ready in May, the NVC will ask for Interview slots in July, and if there are availabilities will send you the Interview Letter in early June.
First lesson here is that in the minimum amount of time between ‘current’ + ‘case-complete’ to interview is 6 weeks.

Most U.S. Consulates abroad however are busy, and the NVC has to wait for Interview slots to become available. Generally, most Applicants see their Interview scheduled within 3.5 / 4.5 months of them being ‘current’ + ‘case-complete’.

It would be helpful if the U.S. State Department were to share data about Interview Wait times per Consulates, data they undoubtedly have, but they do not.

When will Immigration Planner update its predictions?

We expect to update our predictions the day after the next Visa Bulletin is released. Our best guess as to when we will update these predictions is as follows:

Oct 22, 2020

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