Person holding open passport book.

The U.S. Department of State has released the October 2019 Visa Bulletin, the first for fiscal year 2020. As anticipated, many of the final action dates have rebounded after retrogressing in August and have returned to dates similar to those seen in the August 2019 Visa Bulletin.

Below is a summary of the three primary employment-based preference categories:

EB-1. India, which was unavailable in September, reverts to a January 1, 2015, cutoff date. China advances to November 1, 2016, farther ahead than the cutoff date indicated in the August 2019 Visa Bulletin. All other countries revert to April 22, 2018.

EB-2. China will retrogress by two years to January 1, 2015. India will inch forward to May 12, 2009. All other countries will become current.

EB-3. Approaching the end of fiscal year 2019, the annual limits for the entire EB-3 category were reached, causing this category to become unavailable. China will advance to November 1, 2015, a few months shy of the cutoff date included in the July 2019 Visa Bulletin. India will also advance, with a cutoff date of January 1, 2009. The Philippines will have a cutoff date of October 15, 2017. All other countries will become current.

Dates for Filing

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will use the Dates for Filing chart to determine which applicants may file their adjustment of status applications. Applicants with an employment-based green card process have not been able to rely on the more advantageous Dates for Filing chart since January 2019. This move by USCIS will allow applicants, for whom a green card number is not yet available, to obtain benefits such as an employment authorization document card, advance parole travel permission, and access to potential green card portability provisions. Likewise, the Immigration Service and State Department will gain insight into the pipeline of potential green card recipients. Below is a summary of the Dates for Filing chart.

Category All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed China El Salvador Guatemala Honduras India Mexico Philippines
EB-1 July 1, 2019 September 1, 2017 July 1, 2019 March 15, 2017 July 1, 2019 July 1, 2019
EB-2 Current August 1, 2016 Current July 1, 2009 Current Current
Current March 1, 2017 Current February 1, 2010 Current Current

Looking Forward

The October 2019 Visa Bulletin includes predictions by the State Department regarding visa availability and the potential monthly movement of dates through January 2020. Based on these predictions (which may change), the State Department anticipates the following:

EB-1. India will experience little, if any, forward movement. China and the rest of the world may advance by up to three months.

EB-2. India will likely advance only a week at a time, at most. China may advance by as many as two months. The rest of the world will remain current.

EB-3. China and India will experience little, if any, forward movement. The Philippines may see advancement of up to several months. All other countries are likely to remain current.

Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor developments with respect to the Visa Bulletin and will post updates on the Immigration blog as additional information becomes available.



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