The Visa Bulletin: What’s New for June 2019?

The U.S. Department of State released its Visa Bulletin for June 2019. That’s a big deal if you’re waiting for your priority date to be current so that your green card application can move forward. If you don’t know what a “visa bulletin” or a “priority date” is, we’ve got you covered. Start by checking out the Boundless guide on How to Read the Visa Bulletin.

The Visa Bulletin

If you’re already familiar with those terms, skip ahead to our summary of key developments or to the filing category that’s most relevant to you:

Learn More- WHY WOULD A BUSY IMMIGRATION LAWYER START A PODCAST?

Family-based categories

  • F-1: Unmarried Children (Age 21 and Older) of U.S. Citizens
  • F-2A: Spouses and Unmarried Children (Under Age 21) of U.S. Green Card Holders
  • F-2B: Unmarried Children (Age 21 or Older) of U.S. Green Card Holders
  • F-3: Married Children of U.S. Citizens
  • F-4: Siblings of U.S. Citizens

Employment-based categories

  • EB-1: Extraordinary People, Outstanding Researchers and Professors, and Multinational Executives and Managers
  • EB-2: Exceptional People and Advanced Degree Holders
  • EB-3: Bachelor’s Degree Holders, Skilled Workers, and Unskilled Workers
  • EB-4: Special Immigrants
  • EB-5: Investors

Now let’s continue…

The Bottom Line

The June 2019 Visa Bulletin brings some new movement in wait times for both the family- (“F”) and employment-based (“EB”) green card categories.

The following key developments combine analysis by Boundless and insight from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), which checks in every month with Charles “Charlie” Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at the U.S. Department of State, for his assessment of “current trends and future projections.”

In family-based categories:

  • The movement continues to be very strong in the family-based categories, particularly for F-2A and F-2B groups. This is primarily due to low demand, which has seen Final Action Dates generally advancing faster.
  • All countries in F2A advance by 2 months. F-2B countries also see a significant decrease in wait time, 3.5 months, with the exception of Mexico and the Philippines, which advance only 1 and 1.5 months, respectively.
  • Oppenheim notes that Mexican families are not seeing big forward movement because of high demand. The wait times for Mexican siblings and adult children of U.S. citizens, for example, remain unchanged. Oppenheim does not expect movement for the remainder of the fiscal year 2019 (ending September 30) and actually predicts some backward movement of cut-off dates, a phenomenon known as “retrogression,” for Mexican families.

In employment-based categories:

  • EB-1 sees significant backward movement, over 2 years, for Indian workers, showing the impact of high demand. Oppenheim does not expect forward movement for India until the fiscal year 2020 begins, when, he predicts, the cut-off date will advance to February 22, 2017. China does not move ahead, either, but Oppenheim predicts forward movement to May 8, 2017, next month.
  • In the EB-2 category, the wait time for Chinese workers decreases by more than 2.5 months and will further advance to November 1, 2016, in the next Visa Bulletin. For Indian workers, however, the change was less significant at only 3 days. This is due to strong demand, which could further slow processing times.
  • In the forthcoming July Visa Bulletin, Oppenheim predicts EB-3 Chinese workers will advance to January 1, 2016, while the wait time will go away for the Philippines, and India will stall.
    In EB-4, Mexico continues to make steady progress, while Central America wait times remain largely unchanged with only a 2-week advance. Oppenheim predicts their cut-off date will remain the same for the rest of the fiscal year.
  • EB-5 China and Vietnam advance by only 9 days despite an earlier reduction in wait times. Oppenheim foresees the date for China to remain for the remainder of fiscal 2019 and that Vietnam and India will reach their country limits by July.

Wonky technical note: This post focuses on the “Final Action Dates” in the Visa Bulletin because these dates are most relevant for figuring out when applicants will ultimately receive their green cards.

USCIS announces every month, however, whether applicants should file their “adjustment of status” applications (those for immigrants already residing in the United States) based on the “Final Action Dates” or the “Dates for Filing.”

For such applications filed in June, family-based visa applicants must use the “Dates for Filing” (available on the State Department’s website), whereas employment-based visa applicants must use the “Final Action Dates.” Applicants filing from abroad must follow the Final Action Dates.

Read on for details…


Family-Based Green Card Backlogs

F-1: UNMARRIED CHILDREN (AGE 21 AND OLDER) OF U.S. CITIZENS

Country New Cut-off Date Old Cut-off Date Change in Wait Time
General Category 15-Feb-12 8-Jan-12 –1 month, 1 week
China 15-Feb-12 8-Jan-12 –1 month, 1 week
India 15-Feb-12 8-Jan-12 –1 month, 1 week
Mexico 8-Aug-97 8-Aug-97 No Change
Philippines 22-Jun-07 15-May-07 –1 month, 1 week

Movement in this category has been gradual, but Mexico continues to make no progress:

  • No forward movement for Mexico
  • One-month, 1-week advance for the general category, China, India, and the Philippines

F-2A: SPOUSES AND UNMARRIED CHILDREN (UNDER AGE 21) OF U.S. GREEN CARD HOLDERS

Country New Cut-off Date Old Cut-off Date Change in Wait Time
General Category 15-Jul-17 15-May-17 –2 months
China 15-Jul-17 15-May-17 –2 months
India 15-Jul-17 15-May-17 –2 months
Mexico 1-Jul-17 1-May-17 –2 months
Philippines 15-Jul-17 15-May-17 –2 months

Movement continues to be significant in this category, with all countries making strong progress:

  • Two-month advance for all countriF-2B: UNMARRIED CHILDREN (AGE 21 OR OLDER) OF U.S. GREEN CARD HOLDERS
Country New Cut-off Date Old Cut-off Date Change in Wait Time
General Category 15-May-13 1-Feb-13 –3 months, 2 weeks
China 15-May-13 1-Feb-13 –3 months, 2 weeks
India 15-May-13 1-Feb-13 –3 months, 2 weeks
Mexico 15-Mar-98 15-Feb-98 –1 month
Philippines 15-Nov-07 1-Oct-07 –1 month, 2 weeks

This month, most countries in this category continue to move forward. Mexico and the Philippines, however, slow slightly:

  • Three-month, 2-week advance for the general category, China and India
  • One-month advance advance for Mexico
  • One-month, 2-week advance for the Philippines

F-3: MARRIED CHILDREN OF U.S. CITIZENS

Country New Cut-off Date Old Cut-off Date Change in Wait Time
General Category 22-Dec-06 8-Nov-06 –1 month, 2 weeks
China 22-Dec-06 8-Nov-06 –1 month, 2 weeks
India 22-Dec-06 8-Nov-06 –1 month, 2 weeks
Mexico 22-Feb-96 15-Feb-96 –1 week
Philippines 1-Feb-97 8-Oct-96 –3 months, 3 weeks, 3 days

All countries in this category advance, with the Philippines showing the strongest movement . Mexico, however, shows weak movement:

  • One-month, 14-day advance for the general category, China, and India
  • Three-month, 3-week, and 3-day advance for the Philippines
  • One-week advance for Mexico

F-4: SIBLINGS OF U.S. CITIZENS

Country New Cut-off Date Old Cut-off Date Change in Wait Time
General Category 1-Apr-06 15-Feb-06 –1 month, 2 weeks, 3 days
China 1-Apr-06 15-Feb-06 –1 month, 2 weeks, 3 days
India 15-Aug-04 1-Aug-04 –2 weeks
Mexico 8-Feb-98 8-Feb-98 No Change
Philippines 1-Jun-97 1-Mar-97 –3 months

The Philippines makes a strong advance, while Mexico makes no progress for the 7th month in a row:

  • One-month, 2-week, 3-day advance for the general category and China
  • Three-month advance for the Philippines
  • Two-week advance for India
  • No movement for Mexico

Employment-Based Green Card Backlogs

EB-1: EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE, OUTSTANDING RESEARCHERS AND PROFESSORS, AND MULTINATIONAL EXECUTIVES AND MANAGERS

Country New Cut-off Date Old Cut-off Date Change in Wait Time
General Category 22-Apr-18 1-Mar-18 –1 month, 3 weeks
China 22-Feb-17 22-Feb-17 No change
Central America 22-Apr-18 1-Mar-18 –1 month, 3 weeks
India 1-Jan-15 22-Feb-17 +2 years, 1 month, 3 weeks
Mexico 22-Apr-18 1-Mar-18 –1 month, 3 weeks
Philippines 22-Apr-18 1-Mar-18 –1 month, 3 weeks
Vietnam 22-Apr-18 1-Mar-18 –1 month, 3 weeks

Movement is strong for everyone in this category, except for India and China:

  • One-month, 3-week advance for the general category, Central America, Mexico, the Philippines, and Vietnam
  • No progress for China
  • Two-year, 1-month, 3-week backward movement (retrogression) for India

EB-2: EXCEPTIONAL PEOPLE AND ADVANCED DEGREE HOLDERS

Country New Cut-off Date Old Cut-off Date Change in Wait Time
General Category No wait No wait No change
China 1-Aug-16 15-May-16 –2 months, 2 weeks, 3 days
Central America No wait No wait No change
India 19-Apr-09 16-Apr-09 –3 days
Mexico No wait No wait No change
Philippines No wait No wait No change
Vietnam No wait No wait No change

Mostly good news in this category, with no lines for nearly all countries except India and China:

  • Dates remain current for the general category, Central America, Mexico, the Philippines, and Vietnam — no wait, celebrate!
  • Two-month, 2-week, 3-day advance for China
  • Three-day advance for India

EB-3: BACHELOR’S DEGREE HOLDERS, SKILLED WORKERS, AND UNSKILLED WORKERS

Country New Cut-off Date Old Cut-off Date Change in Wait Time
General Category No wait No wait No change
China 15-Sep-15 22-Aug-15 –3 weeks, 1 day
Central America No wait No wait No change
India 1-Jul-09 1-Jul-09 No change
Mexico No wait No wait No change
Philippines 1-Nov-18 1-Jun-18 –5 months
Vietnam No wait No wait No change

No lines for many countries in this category, plus the general category, a trend that started at the beginning of the new fiscal year. A line remains for India, while China advances slightly and the Philippines quite strongly:

  • Dates still current for the general category, Central America, Mexico, and Vietnam
  • No change for India
  • Three-week advance for China
  • Five-month advance for the Philippines

Finally, just to be complete about all of this: The no-line pattern of previous months continues for most countries in the EB-4 “special immigrants” category. The line continues to show very little movement again for Central America, while Mexico continues to advance at a steady clip. In the EB-5 investor category, only China and Vietnam continue to have uncleared backlogs.

Category Country New Cut-off Date Old Cut-off Date Change in Wait Time
EB-4: Special Immigrants General Category No wait No wait No change
China No wait No wait No change
Central America 22-Mar-16 8-Mar-16 –2 weeks
India No wait No wait No change
Mexico 1-Oct-18 1-Aug-18 –2 months
Philippines No wait No wait No change
Vietnam No wait No wait No change
Category Country New Cut-off Date Old Cut-off Date Change in Wait Time
EB-5: Investors General Category No wait No wait No change
China 1-Oct-14 22-Sep-14 –1 week, 2 days
Central America No wait No wait No change
India No wait No wait No change
Mexico No wait No wait No change
Philippines No wait No wait No change
Vietnam 1-Oct-16 22-Sep-16 –1 week, 2 days

Why This Matters

If you’re in line for a green card, it’s important to keep track of actual changes (and likely future developments) in the Visa Bulletin. It’s always a good idea to prepare all the documents needed for your green card application ahead of time, so you can be ready to file as quickly as possible once the Visa Bulletin shows that a green card is available to you. By failing to file in a month when a green card is available, you risk facing a surprise backward movement (“retrogression”) in the next Visa Bulletin, which would close your window of opportunity for filing a green card application.

Stay tuned for next month’s update! As always, we’ll highlight all the important changes for you. In the meantime, enjoy watching this hamster eating tiny pancakes to the tune of a melodic soundtrack.