With the summer season just around the corner, it's time to examine the next Department of State visa bulletin to see where the final action dates have moved. Waiting for your priority date to be current can be an arduous process, and understanding how the dates are affected can be difficult. That's why we've created this in-depth report of the June 2018 visa bulletin that not only gets newcomers up to speed but also helps those with a pending green card petition get a better idea of their waiting time. Important Dates to Understand This post is primarily for those that already have a green card petition pending with the USCIS and are looking to see where their dates stand. However, if you are interested in getting a green card but haven't yet started the process, here are some terms you should understand before moving forward with this June 2018 visa bulletin. Priority Dates The first term to remember is "priority date". The dates listed in this report are not priority dates. Each person has their own priority date, which is the date that the USCIS receives your petition. You need to note when that date is, because you will need to match it up with the final action dates. Final Action Dates These dates are the dates provided below. They are assigned based on the preference level of the green card you have petitioned for as well as your country of origin. Unlike your priority date, "final action dates" are constantly changing. If too many people from your country petition for the same green card, then the final action date for that category will either remain in place or retrogress (move backward). Otherwise, your final action date should continuously move forward. Once the final action date for your preference level and country matches or passes your priority date, an immigrant visa number will become available and you will be able to move forward with adjustment of status or consular processing. Family-Based Green Cards The family-based immigrant visas are dependent on having a U.S. citizen or green card holder sponsor you for your own green card. There are four preference categories and five chargeability areas (countries or groups of countries). These areas are China, India, Mexico, the Philippines, and all other countries (which we'll call the general category). Keep in mind that the marriage-based green card is not listed here due to the fact that marrying a U.S. citizen makes you an immediate relative and an immigrant visa is always available for immediate relatives. First Preference The F1 green card is for the children or dependents of U.S. citizens who are over the age of 21. \tThe dates for the general category, China, and India have not seen any movement and remain at April 8, 2011. \tThe date for Mexico has leaped forward six months and three weeks from November 15, 1996, to June 1, 1997. \tThe date for the Philippines has moved forward two months from January 22, 2006, to March 22, 2006. Second Preference The F2 has two subcategories: F2A: for the unmarried children under 21 and the spouses of U.S. green card holders \tThe dates for the general category, China, India, and the Philippines have moved forward one week from June 1, 2016, to June 8, 2016. \tThe date for Mexico has moved forward two weeks from April 22, 2016, to May 8, 2016. F2B: for the children over 21 of U.S. green card holders. \tThe dates for the general category, China, and India have moved forward six weeks from May 15, 2011, to June 22, 2011. \tThe date for Mexico has moved forward ten weeks from December 1, 1996, to February 15, 1997. \tThe date for the Philippines has moved forward one month from December 15, 2006, to January 15, 2007. Third Preference The F3 green card is for the married children of U.S. citizens. \tThe dates for the general category, China, and India have moved forward five weeks from May 15, 2011, to June 22, 2011. \tThe date for Mexico has moved forward one month from September 1, 1995, to October 1, 1995. \tThe date for the Philippines has moved forward one week from April 1, 1995, to April 8, 1995. Fourth Preference The F4 is for the siblings (brothers and sisters) of U.S. citizens. \tThe dates for the general category have moved forward three weeks from October 1, 2004, to October 22, 2004. \tThe date for India has move forward two weeks from March 1, 2006, to March 15, 2006. \tThe date for Mexico has not seen any movement and remains at January 8, 1998. \tThe date for the Philippines has moved forward three weeks from February 1, 1995, to February 22, 1995. Family-Based Priority Date Chart Here are the dates for family-based green cards pulled from the June 2018 visa bulletin. Employment Based Green Cards For immigrant visas that are based on your employment, your eligibility will depend on your sponsor as well as your personal qualifications. There are a total of five preference levels and seven chargeability areas, which are China, India, Mexico, the Philippines, Central America (just Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador), Vietnam, and the general category. First Preference The EB-1 is for those that have extraordinary achievement, outstanding researchers and professors, and multinational executives and managers. \tThe dates for the general category, Central America, Mexico, the Philippines, and Vietnam are all current. \tThe dates for China and India have not seen any movement and remain at January 1, 2012. Second Preference The EB-2 is for those that have an advanced degree, can demonstrate exceptional ability in their field, or qualify for a National Interest Waiver. \tThe dates for the general category, Central America, Mexico, the Philippines, and Vietnam are all current. \tThe date for China has not seen any movement and remains at September 1, 2014. \tThe date for India has moved forward four days from December 22, 2008, to December 26, 2008. Third Preference The EB-3 is for professional workers (bachelor's degree holders), skilled workers (2+ years of experience), and "other workers" (less than 2 years of experience). Note that the "other workers" designation has slightly different dates. \tThe dates for the general category, Central America, Mexico, and Vietnam are all current. \tThe date for China has not seen any movement and remains at June 1, 2015. \tThe date for India has not seen any movement and remains at May 1, 2008. \tThe date for the Philippines has not seen any movement and remains at January 1, 2017. \tThe date for China in the "other workers" category has also not seen any movement and remains at May 1, 2007. Fourth Preference The EB-4 is for those that have occupations that fall under a very limited list of jobs. \tThe dates for the general category, China, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam are all current. \tThe date for Central America has not seen any movement and remains at December 15, 2015. \tThe date for Mexico has not seen any movement and remains at October 22, 2016. Fifth Preference The EB-5 is actually a green card that is based on your investment in a U.S. enterprise rather than your employment. \tThe dates for the general category, Central America, India, Mexico, and the Philippines are all current. \tThe dates for China and Vietnam have moved forward one week from July 22, 2014, to August 1, 2014. Employment-Based Priority Date Chart Here are the June 2018 visa bulletin dates for employment green cards. June 2018 Visa Bulletin Predictions In an alarming switch, it would seem that the employment-based green cards are close to being oversubscribed across the board. There has been very little movement (if any at all) in any of the above categories. Despite the fact that we are still five months away from the end of the fiscal year, it would seem that these categories are reaching their limit. If this continues, an apt prediction for the next visa bulletin may be a retrogression for the dates of several green cards. The DOS specifically stated in the bulletin that we can expect to see a retrogression for Mexico's final action date in the EB-4 category. Can This Waiting Time Be Shortened? Unfortunately, your priority date waiting time can only be shortened in one of two ways: \tThere is a decrease in the number of petitions for your green card that come from your country each year. \tYou may be able "port" your green card if you are applying for an employment-based visa. Let's dissect this second option, because there have been several misconceptions about what "porting" a green card entails. It's here in quotation marks because it's not exactly porting at all. Moving from a lower preference level to a higher one means that you need to start the green card process all over again (including filing a new petition and getting a new PERM if applicable). However, you can shorten your waiting time by retaining your priority date from the first petition. To be able to move up to a higher preference level, you not only need to obtain the qualifications for the new green card, but you also need to find a new position that requires your newfound qualifications. Speak with your immigration attorney to see if this would work for your case. How You Can Stay Up-to-Date In the world of immigration law, knowledge can be one of your most valuable tools. Staying in-the-know can help you avoid missing important information that might be crucial to your case. To make sure you are always in the loop on things such as the June 2018 visa bulletin, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the message "Subscribe Visa Bulletin" to make sure you get all the latest updates.