The October 2021 Visa Bulletin was released yesterday and I do not recall a more anticipated yet simultaneously anticlimactic and disappointing visa bulletin in recent memory. After months of significant forward movement in most employment-based preference categories, particular EB2/EB3 for China/India, anticipation was high that the beginning of the new fiscal year in October 2021 would see considerable advancement in many categories, but particularly the aforementioned EB2/EB3 China/India. For months we have been hearing about how many employment-based visas are projected to be available for this fiscal year due to spillover from unused family-based visas the prior year, but it does not appear to have made a significant impact on this month’s visa bulletin. Even more disappointing is that DOS may impose a final action date for EB3 All Countries as early as November. The one bit of silver lining is that USCIS has indicated that the Dates for Filing chart is to be used by all applicants filing for their greencards in both the employment-based and family-based categories, except for F2A which is to use the Final Action Dates chart.
For all countries except India, China, Philippines, and Mexico: F2A category priority date remains current, F2B preference remains at a PD of 22 September 2015, F4 category remains at 22 March 2007; EB1 remains current; EB2 remains current; and EB3 remains current.
For India only: F2A category remains current, F2B preference remains at 22 September 2015, F4 remains at a PD of 15 September 2005; EB1 remains current; EB2 remains at 1 September 2011; EB3 remains at a PD of 1 January 2014; EB5 Non-Regional Center remains current and the Regional Center remains unavailable.
For China only: EB1 remains current; EB2 remains at a PD of 1 July 2018; EB3 remains at a PD of 8 January 2019; EB5 Non-Regional Center remains at a PD of 22 November 2015 and the Regional Center remains unavailable.
For Vietnam only: EB5 Non-Regional Center remains current and the Regional Center remains unavailable.
Can file your immigrant applications if PD before:
F2A Current; F2B 22 September 2016 for All Areas, except 1 October 2000 for Mexico and 1 October 2013 for Philippines; F4 1 October 2007 for All Areas, except 1 January 2006 for India, 1 June 1999 for Mexico, and 1 February 2004 for Philippines.
EB1 Current for all countries, including China and India; EB2 All countries except India and China are current; EB3 Current for all countries except India and China; EB2 India 8 July 2012; EB3 India 8 January 2014; EB2 China 1 September 2018; EB3 China 15 January 2019; EB5 China (RC and Non-RC) 15 December 2015; Vietnam is not individually listed and should use the all countries category.
Notes copied from the Department of State regarding Visa availability:
D. EXPIRATION OF TWO EMPLOYMENT CATEGORIES
Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR):
Pursuant to Section 102 of Division I, Title I of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116-260), the non-minister special immigrant program expires on September 30, 2021. No SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after midnight September 29, 2021. Visas issued prior to this date will only be issued with a validity date of September 29, 2021, and all individuals seeking admission as a non-minister special immigrant must be admitted (repeat, admitted) into the U.S. no later than midnight September 29, 2021.
The final action date for this category has been listed as “Unavailable” for October.
If there is legislative action extending this category for FY-2022, the final action date would immediately become “Current” for October for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, which would be subject to a March 15, 2019 final action date, and Mexico, which would be subject to a March 1, 2020 final action date.
Employment Fifth Preference I5 and R5 Regional Center Visa Categories (I5 and R5):
Division O, Title 1, Section 104 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 extended the immigrant investor pilot program until June 30, 2021. No I5 or R5 visas may be issued overseas or final action taken on adjustment of status cases after June 30, 2021.
The final action dates for the I5 and R5 categories have been listed as “Unavailable” for October.
If there is legislative action extending this category for October, the final action dates would immediately become “Current” for October for all countries except China-mainland born I5 and R5, which would be subject to a November 22, 2015 final action date.
E. FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION ON VISA PROCESSING AT U.S. EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, PLEASE VISIT THE BUREAU OF CONSULAR AFFAIRS WEBSITE AT TRAVEL.STATE.GOV
F. VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS
FAMILY-sponsored categories (potential monthly movement)
F1: No movement expected
F2B: No movement expected
F3: No movement expected
F4: No movement expected
EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement)
China: Up to several months
India: Up to several months
Worldwide: A final action date could be imposed as early as November
China: A retrogression of this date could occur as early as November
India: A retrogression of this date could occur as early as November
Mexico: A final action date could be imposed as early as November
Philippines: A final action date could be imposed as early as November
Employment Fourth: Current for most countries
El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras: Limited, if any, movement expected
Mexico: Limited, if any, movement expected
Employment Fifth: Current for most countries
China: No forward movement
The above final action date projections for the Family and Employment categories indicate what is likely to happen on a monthly basis through January. The determination of the actual monthly final action dates is subject to fluctuations in applicant demand and several other variables impacting processing.
G. @TRAVELGOV HOSTING MONTHLY YOUTUBE LIVE “CHATS WITH CHARLIE”
@TravelGov will be hosting “Chats with Charlie” on our YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/TravelGov) to discuss information provided in the monthly Visa Bulletin. This month’s chat is scheduled to take place on September 15, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. EST to discuss the October Visa Bulletin. Questions can be emailed to VisaBulletin@state.gov ahead of the event with “Chat with Charlie Question” in the subject line. Questions will also be taken via the YouTube Live Chat and will be answered in real-time. The event is intended to address issues of general interest related to the content of the Visa Bulletin, and no policy, case or post specific questions will be accepted.
H. OBTAINING THE MONTHLY VISA BULLETIN
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