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:||Oct 2022|
|Final Action Date:||Nov 22, 2008|
The reality is that there are just not enough F3 Green Cards being issued at U.S. Consulates around the world to justify moving the visa bulletin dates forward. The following graph makes it very clear, FY2022 is nowhere near the last pre-pandemic year of FY2019:
October 2022 did not yield any advancement for F3-All Countries. 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.
But the greater concern now is that the issuance of consular F3s in FY2022 is down 40% when compared with pre-Covid-19 level. This could mean that the F3 backlog increased even more in FY2022...
See here for F3 Mexico and the Philippines.
|Oct 2022||Nov 22, 2008||None|
|Sep 2022||Nov 22, 2008||None|
|Aug 2022||Nov 22, 2008||None|
|Jul 2022||Nov 22, 2008||None|
|Jun 2022||Nov 22, 2008||None|
|May 2022||Nov 22, 2008||None|
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.
|Oct 2022||Nov 22, 2008|
|Nov 2022||Dec 1, 2008|
|Dec 2022||Dec 1, 2008|
|Jan 2023||Dec 8, 2008|
|Feb 2023||Dec 15, 2008|
|Mar 2023||Dec 22, 2008|
|Apr 2023||Jan 1, 2009|
|May 2023||Jan 8, 2009|
|Jun 2023||Jan 15, 2009|
|Jul 2023||Jan 22, 2009|
|Aug 2023||Feb 1, 2009|
|Sep 2023||Feb 1, 2009|
|Oct 2023||Mar 1, 2009|
|Nov 2023||Mar 22, 2009|
|Dec 2023||Apr 15, 2009|
|Jan 2024||May 8, 2009|
|Feb 2024||Jun 1, 2009|
|Mar 2024||Jun 22, 2009|
|Apr 2024||Jul 15, 2009|
|May 2024||Aug 1, 2009|
|Jun 2024||Sep 1, 2009|
|Jul 2024||Sep 22, 2009|
|Aug 2024||Oct 8, 2009|
|Sep 2024||Nov 1, 2009|
|Oct 2024||Dec 1, 2009|
|Nov 2024||Jan 1, 2010|
|Dec 2024||Jan 22, 2010|
|Jan 2025||Feb 15, 2010|
|Feb 2025||Mar 15, 2010|
|Mar 2025||Apr 15, 2010|
|Apr 2025||May 8, 2010|
|May 2025||Jun 8, 2010|
|Jun 2025||Jul 1, 2010|
|Jul 2025||Aug 1, 2010|
|Aug 2025||Aug 22, 2010|
|Sep 2025||Sep 22, 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 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’):
- When visa numbers are available the F.A.D moves forward to allow for interviews to be scheduled, and Green Cards to be issued
- 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).
The first notable element is that the number of U.S. consulates issuing F3s is back to pre-pandemic level, even if its number has started to fall again during the last few months.
What is really concerning, however, is that the issuance of consular F3s is still 40% below pre-pandemic levels. Obviously, if all the available Green Card numbers are not used, then the backlog will keep growing and it will take even longer for visa bulletin date to start moving forward again.
The situation varies greatly from one consulate to the next, so make sure to see how your consulate is doing:
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 15, 2022
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