The days of immediate processing of F2A green cards are coming to an end. And some F4 green cards, as well as EB-2 and EB-3 green cards will retrogress shortly. If you or loved ones are eligible for these green cards, we recommend filing a petition as soon as possible.
Every month, Charles Oppenheim, chief of the Department of State’s Visa Control and Reporting Division, provides insight into the latest Visa Bulletin and offers his projections for green-card wait times. Oppenheim recently offered up the following projections:
Family-Based Green Cards
Oppenheim warned in December that he will place a final action date on F2A green cards for spouses of permanent residents “within the next few months.” After a priority date is imposed, individuals from all countries who file an F2A must wait for a green card. Currently, no wait exists.
The F2A green card for spouses and children of green-card holders has been “current” since July 2019—an extremely unusual occurrence. “Current” means no backlog or wait time exists.
Oppenheim said next month (February 2020), individuals from China face a retrogression of the final action date for F4 green cards. Siblings of U.S. citizens can apply for an F4 green card. Once retrogression occurs for individuals from China, the final action date will likely hold for some time. Retrogression occurs when the number of green card applications far outstrips the supply of green cards available for that month for that country.
In addition, Oppenheim expects the final action dates for the following family-based green cards to advance:
- F1 green card to advance up to six weeks.
- F2B green card to advance up to three weeks.
- F3 green card to advance between one and three weeks.
EB-1 Green Cards
Oppenheim says demand for EB-1 green cards from individuals born in China and India remain high. Still, the final action date for EB-1 green cards for individuals born in China advanced one week in the January Visa Bulletin to May 22, 2017. Oppenheim says the final action date for EB-1 China will continue to advance at a pace of up to three weeks.
However, the final action date for EB-1 green cards for individuals born in India continues to hold at January 1, 2015. Unfortunately, he expects no advancement for EB-1 India in the near future.
Meanwhile, the demand for EB-1 green cards from the rest of the world tapered off and remains lower than Oppenheim’s monthly target. If this continues, EB-1 green cards could become current by the summer of 2020 for all other individuals. That includes those born in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, the Philippines, and Vietnam. According to the January Visa Bulletin, the final action date for EB-1 worldwide, which includes those countries, advanced 2.5 months to October 1, 2018.
EB-2 & EB-3 Green Cards
Oppenheim said final action dates will likely be imposed on EB-3 for individuals from all countries next month (February 2020) and EB-2 after March 2020. Oppenheim noted that the longer these categories remain current, the more likely that significant retrogression will occur. Final action dates are already in place for EB-2 and EB-3 green cards for individuals born in China and India.
The final action date for an EB-2 green card for individuals born in China advanced one week in the latest b Bulletin to July 1, 2015. EB-2 India advanced 3 days to May 18, 2009.
Oppenheim expects EB-2 China to advance at a pace of up to one month and EB-2 India advancing up to one week.
The EB-3 China final action date advanced one month to December 1, 2015. That puts the final action date for EB-3 green cards for individuals from China ahead of EB-2 green cards. Oppenheim predicts the EB-3 China final action date will advance at a rate of up to six weeks. Given that, individuals from China who qualify for an EB-2 should apply for an EB-3 to receive a green card sooner.
The final action date for EB-3 India stayed at January 1, 2009 in the current Visa Bulletin. That’s nearly five months behind EB-2 India. Like China, individuals from India who qualify for an EB-2 should consider applying for an EB-3. Oppenheim said the final action date for EB-3 India will hold until demand drops below his monthly target number.
EB-5 Green Cards
The January Visa Bulletin lists the EB-5 Regional Centers green card as unavailable. That’s because the State Department released the January bulletin before the EB-5 Regional Centers program received reauthorization. Oppenheim provided final action dates for EB-5 Regional Centers green cards if the program became available:
- China: November 22, 2014
- India: May 1, 2018
- Vietnam: December 8, 2016
- Current for all other countries
Meanwhile, Oppenheim says EB-5 investor green cards for individuals born in China could advance at a “slightly faster pace” during the next few months. According to the January Visa Bulletin, the final action date for EB-5 China is November 22, 2014.
Oppenheim noted EB-5 India is likely to advance at a “very rapid pace” until higher demand emerges. The final action date for EB-5 India is May 18, 2001 in the January Visa Bulletin.
In contrast, Oppenheim expects EB-5 Vietnam to experience only limited movement. The final action date for EB-5 Vietnam is December 8, 2016.
Immigration for Innovation
The Alcorn Immigration Law team knows immigration leads to innovation. Reach out to us if we can help you file a green card petition for yourself, your employees or your family.