February 2022 visa bulletin

One of the most significant parts of getting a green card in the U.S. is waiting for your priority date to be current. For those that have invested the time, effort, and money into an immigrant visa, questions arise such as “How long will it take for my date to be current?” and “Can I speed this process up?” We provide regular monthly updates on the most recent visa bulletin, analyze the date movements, and predict upcoming months to help answer these questions. This month, we’ll go over the October 2022 visa bulletin.

If you want more information on the background of the visa bulletin and how to read the bulletin, make sure to scroll to the bottom of the post or click the interested link in the Table of Contents.

October 2022 Visa Bulletin: Overview and Predictions

We see significant retrogression (over two years) in the employment-based second preference category (EB-2) for those born in India, as well as other noteworthy changes in the employment categories, especially for China. We see no change across the board for the family-based categories since the last Visa Bulletin.

The Final Action Dates chart determines when an I-485 or IV can be approved, while the Dates for Filing Chart determines when an applicant can file an I-485.

Suppose you have an Adjustment of Status (AOS) application currently pending. Your priority date must be current under the Final Action Chart to adjudicate your green card. If you are contemplating interfiling—a process that allows AOS applicants to change their preference category—don’t hesitate to contact VisaNation Law Group.

Family-Based Green Cards

The category for family-based immigration comprises four preference levels based on who your sponsoring family member is in relation to you. There are five chargeability areas for this category: China, India, Mexico, the Philippines, and all other countries. Due to the global pandemic and limited appointments at overseas consular offices, family-based immigrant visas continue to see low usage numbers. Therefore, any unused family-based visas get added to the EB categories.

Family-Based Dates for Filing Charts

The Dates for Filing chart determines when an applicant can file an I-485. We see no change across the board since the September Visa Bulletin. All countries in the F-2A category are current.

In the F1 category, China, India, and all other countries of chargeability remain at August 8, 2016. Mexico remained on December 1, 2001, and the Philippines on April 22, 2015. 

In the F2B category, China, India, and all other countries of chargeability remain at January 1, 2017. The Philippines remained on October 1, 2013.

In the F3 category, China, India, and all other countries of chargeability remain at November 8, 2009. Mexico is on April 15, 2001, and the Philippines on November 8, 2003.

In the F4 category, China, India, and all other countries of chargeability are on December 15, 2007, while Mexico is on March 15, 2001, and the Philippines is on April 22, 2004.

For the purposes of the October 2022 bulletin AOS, USCIS has indicated to use the Dates for Filing Chart for all family-sponsored filings.  If a particular immigrant visa category is “current” on the Final Action Dates chart or the cutoff date on the Final Action Dates chart is later than the date on the Dates for Filing chart, applicants in that immigrant visa category may file using the Final Action Dates chart during that month.

Category

Rest of the World

Mainland China

India

Mexico

Philippines

F-1

8/8/16

no change

8/8/16

no change

8/8/16

no change

12/01/01

no change

4/22/15

no change

F-2A

Current 

Current 

Current 

Current 

Current 

F-2B

1/01/17

no change

1/01/17

no change

1/01/17

no change

8/08/01

(+1 week)

10/01/13

no change

F-3

11/08/09

no change

11/08/09

no change

11/08/09

no change

04/15/01

no change

11/08/03

no change

F-4

12/15/07

no change

12/15/07

no change

2/22/06

no change

3/15/01

no change

04/22/04

no change

*The numbers in the brackets designate the amount of movement in the filing date for that particular category compared to the previous month. If there’s no bracket below certain dates, there is no movement for those dates/categories in the latest visa bulletin.

Family-Based Final Action Dates Chart

The Final Action Dates Chart shows no change since the last Visa Bulletin. All countries in F-2A are current except for Mexico.

In the F-1 category, China, India, and the rest of the world remained on December 1, 2014, while Mexico stayed on March 15, 2000, and the Philippines remained on March 1, 2012.

In the F-2B category, China, India, and the rest of the world stayed on September 22, 2015, while Mexico remained on April 1, 2001, and the Philippines remained on October 22, 2011.

In the F-3 category, China, India, and the rest of the world stayed on November 22, 2008, while Mexico remained on October 15, 1997, and the Philipines remained on June 8, 2002.

Finally, in the F-4 category, China and the rest of the world are on March 22, 2007, India on September 15, 2005, and the Philippines on August 22, 2002. Mexico remains on June 1, 2000.

Category

Rest of the World

Mainland China

India

Mexico

Phillipines

F-1

12/01/14

(no change)

12/01/14

(no change)

12/01/14

(no change)

3/15/00

(no change)

3/1/12

(no change)

F-2A

Current

Current

Current

4/22/19

Current

F-2B

09/22/15

(no change)

09/22/15

(no change)

09/22/15

(no change)

4/01/01

(no change)

10/22/11

(no change)

F-3

11/22/08

(no change)

11/22/08

(no change)

11/22/08

(no change)

10/15/97

(no change)

06/08/02

(no change)

F-4

3/22/07

(no change)

3/22/07

(no change)

9/15/05

(no change)

6/01/00

(no change)

08/22/02

(no change)

*The numbers in the brackets designate the amount of movement in the final action date for that particular category compared to the previous month. If there’s no bracket below certain dates, there is no movement for those dates/categories in the latest visa bulletin.

Remember, marriage-based green card applicants are known as immediate relatives and don’t have to wait to receive a green card.

Employment-Based Green Cards

With five different preference levels and seven chargeability areas, USCIS issues employment-based category visas through your job or occupation. The chargeability areas are China, India, Mexico, the Philippines, Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador), Vietnam, and the general category.

Employment-Based Final Action Dates Chart

We see significant movement in the Final Action Dates Chart in the employment-based category. All countries in EB-1 are current apart from China which advances 68 days to June 8, 2019 and India sees significant retrogression of over two years to April 1, 2012. The State Department went on the record saying that in FY 2022, they made quick forward movement for EB-2 cutoff dates for India to maximize the allocated immigrant visa numbers, and this had the effect of increased applications within the category. This higher demand, in unison with the lower availability numbers projected in the category for the 2023 fiscal year, is what resulted in the retrogression (to keep visa use within the max allowed under the annual limits.) We also saw greater demand in the EB-5 China unreserved category according to the State Department (along with few expected numbers available for 2023), which resulted in the retrogression in this category.

USCIS confirmed as of September 6, 2022, there were “no visas remaining for applicants from any country of chargeability” in the EB-1 or EB-2 categories.

From the data given, it seems USCIS has used nearly all available employment-based immigrant visas for FY 2022 and will have depleted the remainder by the end of the month. 

USCIS has specified to use the Dates For Filing Chart for all employment-based AOS Filings.

Rest of the World

Mainland China

India

Mexico

Philippines

Central America

Current

Current

Current

Current

Current

Current

Current

6/08/19

(+68 days)

4/01/12

(-2 years,

8 months)

Current

Current

Current

Current

06/15/18

(+54 days)

4/1/12

(+46 days)

Current

Current

Current

EB-3 Other

6/01/20

(1 year, 24 days)

9/01/12

(+92 days)

4/1/12

(+46 days)

6/01/20

(1 year, 24 days)

6/01/20

(1 year, 24 days)

6/01/20

(1 year, 24 days)

Current

Current

Current

9/15/20

(+ 5 months,

14 days)

Current

3/15/18

(+4 months,

7 days)

Current 

3/22/15

11/8/19 

Current 

Current

Current 

Employment-Based Dates for Filing Chart

Here are the October 2022 Visa Bulletin Final Action dates for employment-based immigrant visas. All countries in EB-1 are current.

In EB-2, we see China advance to July 8, 2019, while India sees massive retrogression over 2 years to May 1, 2012. The rest of the countries in this category are current.

In EB-3, we see China advance to July 15, 2018, and India to July 1, 2012. The rest of the countries are current.

In EB-3 other, the rest of the world including Mexico, Philippines, and Central America are on September 8, 2022, while Mainland China is on November 1, 2015, and India on July 1, 2012.

In EB-4, Mexico changes to October 15, 2020, and Central America is now at April 15, 2018; the rest of the countries are current.

For EB-5 unreserved, India is now at December 8, 2019, while China is at January 1, 2016; the rest of the countries are current.

Category

Rest of the World

Mainland China

India

Mexico

Phillipines

Central America

Current

Current

Current

Current

Current

Current

Current

7/08/19

(+68 days)

5/01/12

(-2 years,

8 months)

Current

Current

Current

Current

07/15/18

(+54 days)

7/1/12

(+130 days)

Current

Current

Current

EB-3 Other

9/8/22

11/01/15

(+92 days)

7/1/12

(+130 days)

9/8/22

9/8/22

9/8/22

Current

Current

Current

10/15/20

Current

4/15/18

Current 

1/1/16

12/8/19 

Current 

Current

Current

*The numbers in the brackets designate the amount of movement in the final action date for that particular category compared to the previous month. If there’s no bracket below certain dates, there is no movement for those dates/categories in the latest visa bulletin.

Important October 2022 Visa Bulletin Dates

For those new to the green card process, you should learn a few terms and remember to understand the rest of this October 2022 visa bulletin report. If you have further questions about the process or anything else about your green card, you should consult with your immigration attorney.

Visa Bulletin

Priority Dates

The first term that you’ll hear thrown around is the priority date. Each person who files a petition with the USCIS receives a priority date when the government obtains your petition. A priority date establishes a person’s place in line to get an immigrant visa. Keep this date handy since you will need it to compare to the dates in this bulletin. Remember that your priority date does not move, and you cannot change it except under certain circumstances.

Note: Priority dates are not relevant for immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens (e.g., spouses or minor children) as that category is always current.

Final Action Dates

Final action dates are based on the green card category and the chargeability area—your country of origin. Therefore, the final action dates constantly change based on how many people from each chargeability area have petitioned for that green card.

If green cards are still available, the final action date will likely move closer to your priority date. If green cards are unavailable, you will not see any movement from that final action date. However, if the limit has passed, you may see the date retrogress or move backward from your priority date.

Once the final action date in your green card preference level and chargeability area reaches your priority date, your priority date will be considered current. Once current, you will adjust your status or go through consular processing.

Date for Filing Charts and I-485

You’ll notice there are two charts for each category.

The Date for Filing chart determines whether or not one can submit the final immigrant visa application.

The Final Action Date chart indicates whether an immigrant visa number will be available.

If you need to file an adjustment of status, Form I-485, you need to follow the Final Action Date chart to know when to file based on your priority date. However, sometimes USCIS will note that they’ll accept I-485s based on the Date for Filing chart. USCIS will use this chart when more immigrant visas are available than applicants.

USCIS announces which chart applicants can use within a week of the visa bulletin’s release.

Can You Shorten Your Waiting Time?

The short answer is: probably not. However, there are two prominent cases in which you may be able to shorten your green card processing time, which we will explain here.

The first way is to file an I-140 for a green card and chargeability area with a current priority date. In this case, rather than wait the usual six months for your petition to be processed, you can pay an additional fee for premium processing, which will shorten the processing time to 15 calendar days. However, this is only available for certain green cards that use the I-140. It is unavailable for family- or investment-based immigration and for the EB-1C or EB-2 NIW.

The second situation involves green card “porting,” or transferring your application from a lower preference level to a higher one to take advantage of the shorter waiting times. This is misleading because you don’t port your green card. In reality, you need to start with a new petition (and a new PERM if necessary). The “porting” aspect only comes in when you indicate that you want to retain your original priority date.

As attractive as “porting” might seem, it is a delicate process with particular requirements. Therefore, running decisions like these through your immigration attorney is always good.

Staying Up-to-Date

In the world of immigration law, it always pays to be informed. The more you know about your green card, the easier it will be to make informed decisions about your case. To stay in the know about things like the newest visa bulletin, you can subscribe to the Department of State’s newsletter by emailing [email protected] with the message “Subscribe Visa Bulletin.”

How VisaNation Can Help 

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With these priority date waiting times being so long, it's imperative that your first attempt is done the right way. VisaNation Law Group attorneys have extensive experience helping people obtain green cards through their families and through their employment and can help you avoid the common pitfalls.