Each month, the Department of State sends out a visa bulletin to keep green card applicants up-to-date on the status of their priority dates. Now that the July 2017 visa bulletin is here, we can take a look at where the dates stand and what we can expect from future bulletins. July 2017 Visa Bulletin Overview According to the June 2017 visa bulletin, there have been some startling finds in both the movement of the dates and the lack of movement. China and India still have the same final action date as the previous month for the EB-1 category. Additionally, the EB-3 date for China has retrogressed several years. You will also notice that several of the dates have not seen any movement from the June visa bulletin. If you are still wondering how final action dates work, here is a quick rundown. Your priority date is the day that the USCIS receives your green card petition. When that priority date matches or passes the final action date given in your green card category for your country, your priority date will be considered "current". Once that happens, a visa number will become available and you can file to adjust your status or go through consular processing to obtain your green card after your petition has been approved by the USCIS. Family-Based Visa Preference Categories The family-based section is divided into four different preference levels according to who the sponsor and beneficiary are. These are further divided into five areas of chargeability: China, India, Mexico, the Philippines, and the general category (all other countries). Here is what the dates are in the visa bulletin for July 2017. FIRST PREFERENCE This first preference level is the F1 green card and is meant for the children of U.S. citizens. \tThe dates for the general category, China, and India have unfortunately not seen any movement from the previous month and remain at December 22, 2010. \tFor Mexico, the date has moved forward four months and two weeks from September 1, 1995, to January 15, 1996. \tThe date for the Philippines has moved up four months and three weeks from April 22, 2006, to September 15, 2006. SECOND PREFERENCE The F2 green card is dedicated to the family members of lawful permanent residents (green card holders) divided into two subcategories: F2A: This subcategory is reserved for the dependents and spouses of green card holders. \tThe dates for the general category, China, India, and the Philippines have all moved forward three weeks from August 15, 2015, to September 8, 2015. \tMexico's date has moved up one month from July 22, 2015, to August 15, 2015. F2B: This green card is for the children of lawful permanent residents. These children must be over 21 years old and also unmarried. \tThe dates for the general category, China, and India have nudged forward one week from October 22, 2010, to November 1, 2010. \tThe date for Mexico has gone up seven weeks from April 8, 1996, to June 1, 1996. \tFor the Philippines, the date has moved forward five weeks from September 22, 2006, to November 1, 2006. Third Preference This is the F3 green card and it is meant for the children of U.S. citizens who are married. \tFor the general category, China, and India, the dates have only moved forward one week from July 1, 2005, to July 8, 2005. \tMexico's date has moved up one month from February 22, 1995, to March 22, 1995. \tThe date for the Philippines has gone forward nine weeks from October 8, 1994, to December 15, 1994. Fourth Preference The F4 green card dates, like in previous months, has seen the least amount of movement. It is meant for the siblings (brothers and sisters) of U.S. citizens. \tUnfortunately, the dates for the general category and China have not seen any movement from last month and remain at May 8, 2004. \tIndia's date has moved forward one week from September 15, 2003, to September 22, 2003. \tThe date for Mexico has gone up two weeks from July 15, 1997 to August 1, 1997. \tLastly, the date for the Philippines has jumped ahead eleven weeks from November 22, 1993 to February 15, 1994. Family-Based Visa Chart Here is the chart for family-based green cards according to the official July 2017 visa bulletin. Employment-Based Visa Category Dates The employment-based green cards are arranged into five preference levels and six areas of chargeability: China, India, Mexico, the Philippines, Central America (Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras), and the general category. Due to the low frequency of applicants in the last two preference levels, we will focus only on the first three. FIRST PREFERENCE The EB-1 is a distinguished green card for individuals with extraordinary achievements, outstanding researchers and professors, as well as managers and executives of multinational companies. \tUnfortunately, the dates for both China and India remain backlogged with a final action date of January 1, 2012. \tAll other dates are current for the EB-1. SECOND PREFERENCE The EB-2 green card is for those who can demonstrate that they have an advanced degree, exceptional ability, or that they qualify for a National Interest Waiver. \tThe date for China has moved forward three weeks from March 1, 2013, to March 22, 2013. \tIndia's date has also moved up three weeks from July 1, 2008, to July 22, 2008. \tAll other dates are current for the EB-2. THIRD PREFERENCE The EB-3 remains for those who hold bachelors degrees, are skilled workers, or perform unskilled labor. As you can see from the chart, this third group has slightly different dates. \tThe dates for the general category, Central America, and Mexico have gone forward 7 weeks from April 15, 2017 to June 8, 2017. \tChina's date has actually retrogressed considerably from the previous month. It has moved backward two years and nine months from October 1, 2014, to January 1, 2012. \tThe date for India has jumped forward nine months from May 15, 2005, to February 15, 2006. \tThe date for the Philippines has also seen a large leap forward. It has gone up one year and one week from May 1, 2013, to May 15, 2014. \tIn the "other workers" category, the only difference is the date for China, which has not seen any movement from last month and remains at July 15, 2006. Employment-Based Visa Chart Here is the employment-based visa chart as seen on the Department of State's July 2017 visa bulletin. July 2017 Visa Bulletin Predictions The July 2017 visa bulletin has maintained the trends set by last month's bulletin. Many dates remain unchanged and others have even seen major retrogression. It seems as though the following months may hold more bad news for citizens of China and India. The reason that these two countries seem to have the longest waiting time is due to the fact that more people from these countries apply for green cards than are available. This creates an ever-growing backlog that increases the waiting time. If you would like to explore different options that may decrease your green card waiting time, our attorneys would be more than happy to discuss alternatives based on your specific immigration case. How You Can Stay In The Know If you want to stay updated on the latest info from the Department of State like the July 2017 visa bulletin, you can send an email to email@example.com with the message "Subscribe Visa Bulletin" How Our Immigration Attorneys Can Help If you have filed a green card petition or are planning on filing one, it is important to have an expert helping you along the way. Doing this can help you avoid common pitfalls and address any unanticipated issues that might come up. Here at SGM Law Group, our experienced attorneys have helped countless clients obtain their green cards through both family and employment. If you would like to give your case the best chance possible, fill out this contact form and schedule your consultation with our office today.