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News and Updates

The latest immigration and visa news for the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and select European countries - straight from the leading immigrant advocates in the Philippines.

Visa Bulletin February 2020

Two to three month-movement for the Family-based categories. F2A remains current. But wait! Check how long your petition will be processed by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Crispin Aranda

Visa Bulletin February 2020

The interview dates for the F1, F2B categories moved 3 months forward; F3 and F4 by four months. 

The EB3 and Other Workers in the Employment-based category moved 3 months as well. 

The F2A - spouse and minor children of green card holders remained current! Great news indeed. 

Remember, there is a one-year deadline to start processing upon notification of visa availability

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents:  114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:

A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents:  77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

B. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents:  23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens:  65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

A.  FINAL ACTION DATES FOR FAMILY SPONSORED PREFERENCE CASES

On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); "C" means current, i.e., numbers are authorized for issuance to all qualified applicants; and "U" means unauthorized, i.e., numbers are not authorized for issuance. (NOTE: Numbers are authorized for issuance only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the final action date listed below.)

Family-
Sponsored 

All Chargeability 
Areas Except
Those Listed

CHINA-mainland 
born

INDIA

MEXICO

PHILIPPINES 

F1

22AUG13

22AUG13

22AUG13

22AUG97

01APR09

F2A

C

C

C

C

C

F2B

22AUG14

22AUG14

22AUG14

15SEP98

01MAY09

F3

22NOV07

22NOV07

22NOV07

22MAR96

01MAY99

F4

01JUL06

01JUL06

22NOV04

15JAN98

01JUL99

5.  Section 203(b) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Employment-based immigrant visas as follows: 

 

Employment-
based

All Chargeability 
Areas Except
Those Listed

CHINA-
mainland 
born

EL SALVADOR
GUATEMALA
HONDURAS

INDIA

MEXICO

PHILIPPINES

VIETNAM

1st

01DEC18

22MAY17

01DEC18

01JAN15

01DEC18

01DEC18

01DEC18

2nd

C

15JUL15

C

19MAY09

C

C

C

3rd

C

01JAN16

C

08JAN09

C

01JUN18

C

Other Workers

C

01MAY08

C

08JAN09

C

01JUN18

C

4th

C

C

01JUL16

C

01SEP17

C

C

Certain Religious Workers

C

C

01JUL16

C

01SEP17

C

C

5th Non-Regional Center
(C5 and T5)

C

01DEC14

C

01SEP18

C

C

15DEC16

5th Regional Center
(I5 and R5)

C

01DEC14

C

01SEP18

C

C

15DEC16

FIRST WAITING LINE

Before a Family-based petition is sent to the National Visa Center, the USCIS must finish processing petitions and forward to NVC after approval.  The waiting period for the Family-based categories are shown below (data from USCIS website)

— 7.5 months to 9.5 months for US citizen filing for a spouse, parent, or child under 21: March 21, 2019

— 7.5 months to 9.5 months for US citizen filing for an unmarried son or daughter over 21: March 21, 2019

— 21.5 months to 28 months for permanent resident filing for an unmarried son or daughter over 21: Sept. 3, 2017

— 7.5 months to 9.5 months for US citizen filing for a married son or daughter over 21: March 21, 2019

Second waiting stage


After approval, the cases are forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) where the new batch are queued, according to categories. These petitions then take their places in line, according to the date of receipt at the Uscis.

So, the petition of a US citizen for a married son or daughter received on May 31, 2010 at the California Service Center would have to check the cut-off date of the F3 category in the monthly Visa Bulletin.

For January 2020, the cut-off date for F3 category for the Philippines  was Jan. 1, 1999.

Add the nine years an F3 petition received on May 31, 2020 needs to complete processing and the waiting period virtually seems like an eternity.

The rest of the categories, including the employment-based petitions are shown in the accompanying charts for Philippine applicants only.

The final action dates mean the applicant with a cut-off date on or earlier than that shown in the chart should have completed processing at the NVC stage.

The dates for filing chart on the other hand indicates an applicant in a specific category may start visa processing, i.e., payment of fees and uploading of documents.

If a year passes without the applicant acting, the visa petition faces the probability of termination. Back to square one. All the years of waiting wasted.

Authors & Contributors

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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