Every year USCIS receives a massive volume of employment-based green card applications, which creates a significant backlog. As a result, the USCIS posts monthly adjustment of status filing chart updates taken from the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin, which provides updates regarding priority and cut-off dates for filing immigrant visa applications and application final action dates.
Visa Bulletin updates can be found online and try to portray the latest updates as accurately as possible. There are official physical copies of the updates available upon request. Visa Bulletin predictions are made in previous months, but these are merely predictions, not outcomes. Actual results may not be indicative of these estimates.
The bulletin is updated based on country and category preferences. Certain countries may have a bigger backlog than other countries due to demand. For example, Mexico and India often experience a higher volume of applications. Along with country preference, the Visa Bulletin also takes into account familial status, skill level, and employment.
Predictions are calculated on a complex system that considers supply and demand while referencing prior periods, however, these are not meant to be 100% accurate.
Here’s how to decipher the Visa Bulletin tables:
C = Current
This means there is no backlog for the particular category.
U = Unauthorized
This means no green cards can be issued for that category.
LISTED DATE = Filing Application Date/Application Final Action Date
Each employment-based green card category has two Visa Bulletin dates, the Filing Application Date and the Application Final Action Date.
The Final Action Date table reflects the priority dates in which USCIS is adjudicating I-485 cases, while the other Filing Application Date table reflects the priority dates to which a person can file his or her I-485 case. For example, the India EB-2 priority dates are July 1, 2011 and May 1, 2005. If you have a priority date of July 1, 2011 or earlier, you can submit your I-485 case. However, USCIS will not approve your I-485 unless you have a priority date of May 1, 2005 or earlier.