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November 2021 Visa Bulletin

The November 2021 Visa Bulletin, released by the United States Department of State, shows new final action dates and dates for filing, including some retrogression in Employment-Based Visa categories, while many Family-Based Visas continue to be left unused due to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic and are rolled-over to the Employment-Based Visa categories. This article discusses where the Employment-Based and Family-Based visa categories currently stand as of the November 2021 Visa Bulletin. 

Overview of November 2021 Visa Bulletin

Like every month, the November 2021 Visa features categories for both the Family-Based Visas and the Employment-Based Visas. All categories for Family-Based and Employment-Based Visas are reflected in a Final Action Dates chart and Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart. The Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart shows when prospective immigrants can file their applications for adjustment of status or immigrant visas. The Final Action Dates chart shows when adjustment of status or immigrant visa applications may be approved by the Department of State and permanent residence may be granted. 

Both the Dates for Filing and Final Action Dates charts are important to determining where an applicant stands in the immigrant visa process. The priority date given to applicants must be compared to those listed on the charts. A priority date that is earlier than those listed on the charts under the applicant’s visa category and country means that the applicant is eligible to either file his or her application (Dates for Filing) or to receive a final decision on his or her application (Final Action Dates). 

For November 2021, there is no movement forward or backward in the Family-Based visa categories and some retrogression for China and India in the Employment-based third preference visa category. There is some advancement in the Employment-based second preference visa category for India and China, as well as some advancement in the Employment-based fourth preference visa category for Mexico.

Family-Based Visa Categories 

Across the family-based preference levels, there are five chargeability areas: China, India, Mexico, the Philippines, and all other countries. Due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, all family-based preference levels and chargeability areas continue to see low usage. Unused family-based visas are then added to the visas available for the employment-based categories. Here is how each family-based visa category breaks down in November 2021: 

F-1

There is no change from October’s dates on both the Dates for Filing chart and the Final Action Dates chart. Here is where the date’s stand in each chart: 

Dates for Filing Chart

China

India 

Mexico

Philippines

Other Countries

F-1

May 15, 2016

May 15, 2016

August 1, 2000

April 22, 2015

May 15, 2016

Final Action Dates 

China

India 

Mexico

Philippines

Other Countries

F-1

December 1, 2014

December 1, 2014

January 15, 2000

March 1, 2015

December 1, 2014

F-2A

There is no change from October’s dates on both the Dates for Filing chart and the Final Action Dates chart. All final action dates are current. Here is where the date’s stand in each chart: 

Dates for Filing Chart

China

India 

Mexico

Philippines

Other Countries

F-2A

June 1, 2021

June 1, 2021

June 1, 2021

June 1, 2021

June 1, 2021

Final Action Dates

China

India 

Mexico

Philippines

Other Countries

F-2A

Current

Current

Current

Current

Current

F-2B

There is no change from October’s dates on both the Dates for Filing chart and the Final Action Dates chart. Here is where the date’s stand in each chart: 

Dates for Filing Chart

China

India 

Mexico

Philippines

Other Countries

F-2B

September 22, 2016

September 22, 2016

October 1, 2000

October 1, 2013

September 22, 2016

Final Action Dates

China

India 

Mexico

Philippines

Other Countries

F-2B

September 22, 2015

September 22, 2015

March 15, 2000

October 22, 2011

September 22, 2015

F-3

There is no change from October’s dates on both the Dates for Filing chart and the Final Action Dates chart. Here is where the date’s stand in each chart: 

Dates for Filing Chart

China

India 

Mexico

Philippines

Other Countries

F-3

August 22, 2009

August 22, 2009

September 8, 2000

October 1, 2003

August 22, 2009

Final Action Dates

China

India 

Mexico

Philippines

Other Countries

F-3

November 22, 2008

November 22, 2008

May 15, 1997

June 8, 2002

November 22, 2008

F-4 

There is no change from October’s dates on both the Dates for Filing chart and the Final Action Dates chart. Here is where the date’s stand in each chart: 

Dates for Filing Chart

China

India 

Mexico

Philippines

Other Countries

F-4

October 1, 2007

January 1, 2006

June 1, 1999

February 1, 2004

October 1, 2007

Final Action Dates

China

India 

Mexico

Philippines

Other Countries

F-4

March 22, 2007

September 15, 2005

February 8, 1999

August 22, 2002

March 22, 2007

Employment-Based Visa Categories 

Across the family-based preference levels, there are six chargeability areas: China, India, Mexico, the Philippines, El Salvador/Guatemala/Honduras (Central America), and all other countries. Unlike the family-based preference levels, there is significant change in the Employment-based visa preference levels compared to October 2021. Here is how each employment-based visa category breaks down in November 2021:

EB-1

There is no change from October’s dates on both the Dates for Filing chart and the Final Action Dates chart. Dates for all chargeability areas are current. Here is where the date’s stand in each chart: 

Dates for Filing Chart

China

India 

Mexico

Philippines

Central America

Other Countries

EB-1

Current

Current

Current

Current

Current

Current

Final Action Dates

China

India 

Mexico

Philippines

Central America

Other Countries

EB-1

Current

Current

Current

Current

Current

Current

EB-2

There is some change from October’s dates for India, which advances by 3 months, and China, which advances by just over 4 months. All other chargeability areas are current. Here is where the date’s stand in each chart: 

Dates for Filing Chart

China

India 

Mexico

Philippines

Central America

Other Countries

EB-2

February 1, 2019

January 8, 2013

Current

Current

Current

Current

Final Action Dates

China

India 

Mexico

Philippines

Central America

Other Countries

EB-2

November 15, 2018

December 1, 2011

Current

Current

Current

Current

EB-3

There is some retrogression from October’s dates on both the Dates for Filing chart and the Final Action Dates chart for India, which retrogresses by almost 2 years, and China, which retrogresses by over 9 months. This has caused significant concern amongst Indian nationals, many of whom had “downgraded” from EB-2 to EB-3 on or about October 2020 when the EB-3 category had advanced over the EB-2. Those who moved to EB-3 are now facing the question as to whether they should move to EB-2 again, and how that would impact the timelines for the Green Card. All other chargeability areas are current. Here is where the date’s stand in each chart: 

Dates for Filing Chart

China

India 

Mexico

Philippines

Central America

Other Countries

EB-3

April 01, 2018

January 22, 2012

Current

Current

Current

Current

Final Action Dates

China

India 

Mexico

Philippines

Central America

Other Countries

EB-3

March 22, 2018

January 15, 2012

Current

Current

Current

Current

EB-4

There is some change from October’s dates on the Final Action Dates chart for Mexico, which advances by 1 month. There is no change for Central America. All other chargeability areas are current. Here is where the date’s stand in each chart:

Dates for Filing Chart

China

India 

Mexico

Philippines

Central America

Other Countries

EB-4

Current

Current

Current

Current

May 15, 2019

Current

Final Action Dates

China

India 

Mexico

Philippines

Central America

Other Countries

EB-4

Current

Current

April 1, 2020

Current

March 15, 2019

Current

EB-5 (Non-Regional Center)

There is no change from October’s dates on both the Dates for Filing chart and the Final Action Dates chart. China’s date remains the same as it did in October 2021 while all other chargeability areas are current. Here is where the date’s stand in each chart:

Dates for Filing Chart

China

India 

Mexico

Philippines

Central America

Other Countries

EB-5

December 15, 2015

Current

Current

Current

Current

Current

Final Action Dates

China

India 

Mexico

Philippines

Central America

Other Countries

EB-5

November 22, 2015

Current

Current

Current

Current

Current

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Sweta Khandelwal

Sweta completed her Masters in Law from the University of California, Los Angeles and her JD from the Faculty of Law, Delhi University in India and has been practicing law for 15+ years getting visas, green cards, and citizenship for 1000+ clients, 100+ companies across 50+ nationalities.

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