F3-All Countries: Visa Bulletin Predictions

What is happening with F3-All Countries?

In order to understand what is happening, we first need to realize how rapid the advancement of the Final Action Date of F3-All Countries has been since October 2017. First let’s compare the last two fiscal years (2021 in red, and 2020 in black) with the average of the last decade (2010 to 2019, in green) and the decade before that (2000 to 2009, in blue):

This compares Fiscal Years (which start in October and end the following September.

  • The first thing you will notice is that the last decade (2010 – 2019) had more advancement than the decade prior (2000 – 2009), which is unusual for family preferences (it is usually the opposite with advancement slowing down;
  • The second thing is that fiscal year 2020 (in black) was really incredible (it was actually the best of the last 20 years);
  • The third thing is that fiscal year 2021 was still solid, although slower

So now, let’s take a look at the last two years (here is red), and compare this one more time to the averages of 2010 – 2019 and 2000 – 2009:

Essentially, since October 2019 the dates for F3 Worldwide advanced as fast as they did on average during the faster 2010 – 2019 decade.
But the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, and we are not out of it. In other words, the Visa Office of the U.S. State Department built a backlog of ‘interview-ready’ applications and we are going to have to go through that backlog first before F3-All Countries date can start advancing again.

How did F3-All Countries Final Action Date move in the past few months?

Visa Bulletin Date:May 2022
Final Action Date:Nov 22, 2008

May 2022 did not yield any advancement for F3-All Countries, as expected. As with most 'preference' categories, we are not expecting any forward movement for F3 until at least the end of the current Fiscal Year in September 2022. This is because the Final Action Date for F3 has moved forward at an incredible pace since October 2017. Fiscal Year 2020 (from October 2019 to September 2020) was even the best of the last 20 years, and half of that year was during pandemic yeasr when when almost no F3 interviews were taking place.

We are expecting 'time to current' to increase, because of the 'lost' Green Cards of the last 2 years.

Of important and immediate concerns is whether all the F3 Green Cards are going to be issued this current fiscal year (from October 2021 to September 2022). We are doing better in terms of Consular Interviews taking place and F3 Green Cards being issued, but we are only 70% of the way back, and F3 seems to be lagging other preferences (see our full analysis for details).

See here for F3 Mexico and the Philippines.

Last Six
Visa Bulletin
Final Action
May 2022Nov 22, 2008None
Apr 2022Nov 22, 2008None
Mar 2022Nov 22, 2008None
Feb 2022Nov 22, 2008None
Jan 2022Nov 22, 2008None
Dec 2021Nov 22, 2008None

What does Immigration Planner predict?

The key of our short-term prediction is that there will be no ‘forward movement’ for Fe-All Countries until at least the summer of 2022, and most likely no movement until the end of fiscal year 2022 in September 2022. Beyond the detailed analysis that we shared, this has been stated numerous times by Charlie Oppenheim, who is the head of the ‘Visa Office’ that makes the decision about the Visa Bulletin (you can listen to him talking about the family preferences in November 2021 at  on this Youtube video).

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).

F3, 🌐All Countries,Final Action Dates Predictions, next 2 years: 
Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens.

Visa Bulletin
Final Action
Jun 2022Nov 22, 2008
Jul 2022Nov 22, 2008
Aug 2022Nov 22, 2008
Sep 2022Nov 22, 2008
Oct 2022Nov 22, 2008
Nov 2022Nov 29, 2008
Dec 2022Dec 6, 2008
Jan 2023Dec 13, 2008
Feb 2023Dec 20, 2008
Mar 2023Dec 27, 2008
Apr 2023Jan 3, 2009
May 2023Jan 10, 2009
Jun 2023Jan 17, 2009
Jul 2023Jan 24, 2009
Aug 2023Jan 31, 2009
Sep 2023Feb 7, 2009
Oct 2023Mar 1, 2009
Nov 2023Mar 24, 2009
Dec 2023Apr 16, 2009
Jan 2024May 8, 2009
Feb 2024May 31, 2009
Mar 2024Jun 23, 2009
Apr 2024Jul 15, 2009
May 2024Aug 7, 2009
Jun 2024Aug 30, 2009
Jul 2024Sep 22, 2009
Aug 2024Oct 14, 2009
Sep 2024Nov 6, 2009
Oct 2024Dec 3, 2009
Nov 2024Dec 30, 2009
Dec 2024Jan 25, 2010
Jan 2025Feb 21, 2010
Feb 2025Mar 20, 2010
Mar 2025Apr 16, 2010
Apr 2025May 13, 2010
May 2025Jun 9, 2010

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What can we say about ‘time to current’?

Time to current measures the time it takes an applicant to have their ‘priority date’ current when compared to the ‘final action date’ of the Visa Bulletin. Although not factually correct, time to current is often used by applicants as an estimation of how long it is going to take them to get their Green Card. We also make predictions about time to current for our Green Card dynamic timeline predictions: the process of scheduling a Green Card interview cannot be initiated before the applicant’s date is ‘current’, so it is one of the key ‘anchor’ of the process.

Let’s note that before the pandemic, ‘time to current’ was not heading in the right direction. Applicants with a Priority Date in 2008 waited more than 6 years longer to become current than their predecessors who started the process in 1998:

But the reality of the pandemic, and the associated suspension of Green Card interviews, is that the F3 Worldwide Green Cards that were not issued between March 2020 and September 2021 are gone, and they are not coming back (they were turned into employment Green Cards). As a result, time to current will mechanically go up, and you will find below what our predictions are:

When will the Interview be scheduled?

There are essentially two drivers of the Final Action Date (F.A.D, or ‘Graph A’):

  1. When visa numbers are available the F.A.D moves forward to allow for  interviews to be scheduled, and Green Cards to be issued
  2. When it gets close to the annual numerical limit, the F.A.D movement slows down (or stops, or even retrogresses as we saw).

Note that only Consular interviews will have a real impact on the number of F3 Green Cards being issued: more than 90% of F3 applicants go through Consular Processing (and have an interview at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy outside the United States, so called ‘posts’), so the small number of F3 applicants going through adjustment of status (and having an interview at a USCIS Field Office) will not matter much.

The following graph is based on U.S. Department of State data. Immigration Planner analyzed thousands of data points corresponding with ‘posts’ operations since October 2018. This enables the aggregation of data coming from more than 150 posts and gives us a precise and unique perspective into what is going on (those who want to see the kind of reports we had to work with can take a look at the original data here).

We all knew this, but it is still remarkable to see how abrupt the drop was: the State Department issued as many Green Cards in February 2021 (a little under 2,100) as it did during the following 13 months combined (from March 2020 to April 2021).

The number of F3 interviews scheduled is however doing better, and the 1,000/month Green Cards issued has been exceeded every month since June 2021. We are still not where we want to be though and we are only approximately 70% of the way there:

Note that F3 is doing worse than the average of all preferences (F1, F2A, F2B, F3, F4). We are looking into the details and will update our analysis when we have a better understanding of the situation. It could be because interviews for other preferences (such as F2As, spouses and children of Green Card holders) are prioritized before F3s, or because the U.S. Consulates in the countries that provide the most F3 Applicants are still closed, or operating at a lower capacity. Or a combination of both these factors. In any instance, this is a bit worrying for F3 applicants.

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:

Jun 23, 2022

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