Visa Bulletin for May 2020


The latest green card waiting lists as of May 2020, with predictions from a State Department official

Apr 29, 2020


Official stamps an immigration visa application form.

The U.S. Department of State released its Visa Bulletin for May 2020. 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.

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:

Family-based categories

Employment-based categories


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The Bottom Line

The May 2020 Visa Bulletin brings some new movement in wait times for both the family-based (“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 State Department’s Visa Control and Reporting Division, for his assessment of “current trends and future projections.” The AILA insights below were excerpted from AILA Doc. No. 14071401.

Coronavirus Updates:

  • Oppenheim says he expects the June Visa Bulletin will be issued as it normally would, although the April presidential proclamation limiting immigration will ban the processing of certain green card categories for at least 60 days.
  • Due to COVID-19’s impact on Oppenheim’s ability to analyze government datasets, his analysis for May does not contain forward-looking projections.

In family-based categories:

  • Oppenheim anticipates family-based preference categories may continue to advance consistent with his most recent projections.

In employment-based categories:

  • In terms of employment-based categories, Oppenheim says the biggest news will be that the EB-1 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico, Philippines, and Vietnam) returns to current in May.

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. Every month, however, USCIS announces whether applicants already living in the United States should file their “adjustment of status” applications based on the “Final Action Dates” or the “Dates for Filing.”

For May, all family-based visa applicants — except those in the F-2A category — must use the “Dates for Filing” (available on the State Department’s website), whereas F-2A and employment-based visa applicants must use the “Final Action Dates.” Applicants filing from outside the United States 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 22-Mar-14 1-Jan-14 -2 months, 3 weeks
China 22-Mar-14 1-Jan-14 -2 months, 3 weeks
India 22-Mar-14 1-Jan-14 -2 months, 3 weeks
Mexico 22-Oct-97 22-Sep-97 -1 month
Philippines 1-Sep-10 1-Mar-10 -6 months

This category sees movement for all countries:

  • All countries see progress, some more so than others
  • Mexico advances the least, with an advance of just one month
  • The Philippines advances the most, with a six-month advance
  • Other countries advance over two months

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 No wait No wait No Change
China 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

This category has seen no change, with all countries remaining current.


F-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-Jan-15 1-Nov-14 -2 months, 2 weeks
China 15-Jan-15 1-Nov-14 -2 months, 2 weeks
India 15-Jan-15 1-Nov-14 -2 months, 2 weeks
Mexico 15-Jan-99 1-Dec-98 -2 months, 2 weeks
Philippines 1-Jun-10 1-Feb-10 -4 months

In May, there is movement for all countries of over one month:

  • Four-month advance for the Philippines, continuing on an advancing trend dating back to October 2019
  • Over two-month advance for all other categories, including Mexico

F-3: married children of U.S. citizens

Country New
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category 15-Mar-08 1-Feb-08 -1 month, 2 weeks
China 15-Mar-08 1-Feb-08 -1 month, 2 weeks
India 15-Mar-08 1-Feb-08 -1 month, 2 weeks
Mexico 8-Jun-96 8-May-96 -1 month
Philippines 15-Nov-00 15-May-00 -6 months

All countries see advances of over one month, continuing an advancing trend that began several months ago:

  • Over one-month advances for General Category, India, Mexico, and China
  • Six-month advance for the Philippines

F-4: siblings of U.S. citizens

Country New
Cut-off Date
Old
Cut-off Date
Change in Wait Time
General Category 22-Jul-06 1-Jul-06 -3 weeks
China 22-Jul-06 1-Jul-06 -3 weeks
India 8-Jan-05 22-Dec-04 -2 weeks, 3 days
Mexico 15-Apr-98 15-Mar-98 -1 month
Philippines 1-Oct-00 1-May-00 -5 months

All countries advance but this advance is mostly measured more in weeks and has slowed from April :

  • The Philippines sees a five-month progression
  • Mexico experiences a one-month advance
  • Two-week advance for India
  • Three week advance for the General Category and China

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 No Wait 1-Jun-19 -11 months
China 15-Jul-17 8-Jun-17 -1 month, 1 week
Central America No Wait 1-Jun-19 -11 months
India 01Aug15 01May15 -3 months
Mexico No Wait 1-Jun-19 -11 months
Philippines No Wait 1-Jun-19 -11 months
Vietnam No Wait 1-Jun-19 -11 months

Very strong movement continues across this category and many categories have now moved to being current, meaning there is no wait:

  • No wait for the General Category, Central America, Mexico, Vietnam and the Philippines.
  • Three–month advance for India
  • One-month advance for China

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-Oct-15 1-Sep-15 -1 month
Central America No Wait No Wait No Change
India 2-Jun-09 25-May-09 -1 week, 1 day
Mexico No Wait No Wait No Change
Philippines No Wait No Wait No Change
Vietnam No Wait No Wait No Change

No change for most of the category, except for India and China:

  • No visa wait time for the General Category, Central America, Mexico, Vietnam and the Philippines
  • One-month advance for China
  • One-week 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 01Jan17 01Jan17 No Change
China 15-May-16 15-Apr-16 -1 month
Central America 01Jan17 01Jan17 No Change
India 1-Mar-09 22-Jan-09 -1 month, 1 week
Mexico 01Jan17 01Jan17 No Change
Philippines 01Jan17 01Jan17 No Change
Vietnam 01Jan17 01Jan17 No Change

This month continues to see a stall on visa wait times for multiple countries and some slight advances:

  • No changes for General Category, Central America, Mexico, Philippines and Vietnam
  • One-month advance for advance for India and China

In the EB-4 “special immigrants” category, many countries are current and others see moderate advances. In the EB-5, no real changes are seen, except for India, China, and Vietnam that experience moderate to significant advances:

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 15Aug16 15Jul16 -1 month
India No Wait No Wait No Change
Mexico 1May18 22Jan18 -3 months, 1 week, 2 days
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-Jul-15 15-May-15 -1 month, 2 weeks, 2 days
Central America No Wait No Wait No Change
India 1-Oct-19 1-Jan-19 -9 months
Mexico No Wait No Wait No Change
Philippines No Wait No Wait No Change
Vietnam 1-Apr-17 8-Feb-17 -1 month, 3 weeks, 1 day

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.


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