The Visa Bulletin: What’s New for November 2017?

The U.S. Department of State recently released its Visa Bulletin for November 2017. That’s a big deal if you’re waiting for your priority date to be current so that your green card application can move forward.

If you don’t know what a “visa bulletin” or a “priority date” is, never fear — you’re a normal human being and we’ve got you covered. First, check out the Boundless guide on How to Read the Visa Bulletin.

This post focuses on the “final action dates” in the visa bulletin, since these dates are most relevant for figuring out when applicants will ultimately receive their green cards.

The Bottom Line

The November 2017 Visa Bulletin shows very little movement in wait times for both the family-based (“FB”) and employment-based (“EB”) green card categories. As predicted by the State Department in the October 2017 visa bulletin, movement remains slow and steady across all categories, and this trend is expected to continue into January 2018.

Read on for details…

Family-Based Green Card Backlogs

F-1: unmarried adults (age 21 and older) who are children of U.S. citizens

This month’s visa bulletin shows very little movement in the F-1 category, including the date for the Philippines remaining stagnant unfortunately:

  • The cut-off dates for the general category, China, and India advanced by a month (now January 22, 2011).
  • One-month advance in the cut-off date for Mexico (now April 1, 1996).
  • No change for the Philippines (still January 1, 2007).

F-2A: spouses and unmarried children (under age 21) of U.S. green card holders

There is steady but small movement in the F-2A category in the November 2017 visa bulletin:

  • Three-week advance in cut-off date for the general category, China, India, and the Philippines (now November 15, 2015).
  • Two-week advance for Mexico (now November 01, 2015).

F-2B: unmarried children (age 21 and older) of U.S. green card holders

This month’s visa bulletin shows slightly less momentum in the F-2B category overall than the October 2017 visa bulletin, including no change at all for the Philippines:

  • One-week advance in the cut-off dates for the general category, China, and India (now November 15, 2010).
  • One-week advance in the cut-off date for Mexico (now July 22, 1996).
  • No change for the Philippines (still January 1, 2007).

F-3: married children of U.S. citizens

Advancement in the F-3 category moves at a steady pace:

  • 3.5 week advance in the cut-off dates for the general category, China, and India (now August 15, 2005).
  • Two-week advance in the cut-off date for Mexico (now May 08, 1995).
  • One-week advance for the Philippines (now March 01, 1995).

F-4: siblings of U.S. citizens

The November 2017 visa bulletin brings very little movement in the F-4 category:

  • Two-week advance in the cut-off date for the general category and China (now May 22, 2004).
  • The cut-off date for India advances by three weeks!(now October 22, 2003).
  • One-week advance in the cut-off date for Mexico (now October 8, 1997).
  • One-week advance for the Philippines (now June 8, 1994).

Employment-Based Green Card Backlogs

EB-1: extraordinary people, outstanding researchers and professors, and multinational executives and managers

This category remains current across all countries, and the State Department expects EB-1 to remain current through January 2018. That means no wait time. Come and get your green cards!

EB-2: exceptional people and advanced degree holders

As predicted in the October 2017 visa bulletin, the EB-2 category continues to remain current for the general category, Central America, Mexico, and the Philippines, and see small but steady advancements for China and India:

  • Dates are current for the general category, Central America, Mexico, and the Philippines. No wait here!
  • Three-week advance for China (now June 15, 2013).
  • Three-week advance for India (now October 08, 2008).

EB-3: bachelor’s degree holders, skilled workers, and unskilled workers

As predicted, EB-3 dates remain current for the general category, Central America, and Mexico:

  • Dates remains current for the general category, Central America, and Mexico (no wait — celebrate!).
  • One-month advance for China (now February 1, 2014)
  • No change for India (still October 15, 2006).
  • Six-week advance for the Philippines (now January 15, 2016).

Finally, just to be complete about all of this: The cut-off date for EB-4 “special immigrants” remains the same for Central America (still November 1, 2015) and advance by one month for Mexico (now April 01, 2016), and is current for everyone else. And there’s no wait time for EB-5 investors except those from China, whose cut-off date advanced by a week (now July 01, 2014).

Why This Matters

If you are an applicant in line for a green card, it’s important to keep track of actual changes in the visa bulletin, and also predicted future changes. It’s always a good idea to prepare all the documents needed for your green card application ahead of time, and be ready to file as quickly as possible once the visa bulletin shows that a green card is available to you. By failing to file in a month when a green card is available, you risk facing a surprise retrogression in the next visa bulletin, which would close your window of opportunity for filing a green card application.

Stay tuned for next month’s visa bulletin! As always, we’ll highlight all the important changes for you. In the meantime, enjoy this video of the world’s smallest monkey (and her teeny-tiny twin babies)…