December 2022 Visa Bulletin: Analysis & Predictions

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One of the most significant parts of getting a green card in the U.S. is waiting for your priority date to be current. For those that have invested the time, effort, and money into an immigrant visa, questions arise such as “How long will it take for my date to be current?” and “Can I speed this process up?” We provide regular monthly updates on the most recent visa bulletin, analyze the date movements, and predict upcoming months to help answer these questions. This month, we’ll go over the December 2022 visa bulletin.

If you want more information on the background of the visa bulletin and how to read the bulletin, make sure to scroll to the bottom of the post or click the interested link in the Table of Contents.

December 2022 Visa Bulletin: Overview and Predictions

In this new bulletin, we see no change across the board to the Family-Based Dates for Filing Chart or the Final Action Chart. In the Employment-Based Final Action Dates Chart, we see EB-2 retrogress for all countries. EB-3 India and China advance forward. Minor movement is also seen in the Dates for Filing Chart for EB-3 India and China. 

The Final Action Dates chart determines when an I-485 or IV can be approved, while the Dates for Filing Chart determines when an applicant can file an I-485.

Suppose you have an Adjustment of Status (AOS) application currently pending. Your priority date must be current under the Final Action Chart to adjudicate your green card. If you are contemplating interfiling—a process that allows AOS applicants to change their preference category—don’t hesitate to contact VisaNation Law Group.

Family-Based Green Cards

The category for family-based immigration comprises four preference levels based on who your sponsoring family member is in relation to you. There are five chargeability areas for this category: China, India, Mexico, the Philippines, and all other countries. Due to the global pandemic and limited appointments at overseas consular offices, family-based immigrant visas continue to see low usage numbers. Therefore, any unused family-based visas get added to the EB categories.

Family-Based Dates for Filing Charts

The Dates for Filing chart determines when an applicant can file an I-485. We see no change since the November Visa Bulletin. All countries in the F-2A category are current.

In the F1 category, China, India, and all other countries of chargeability remain at August 8, 2016. Mexico remains at December 1, 2002, and the Philippines remains at April 22, 2015.

In the F2B category, China, India, and all other countries of chargeability remain at January 1, 2017. The Philippines remains at October 1, 2013. Mexico remains at January 1, 2002.

In the F3 category, China, India, and all other countries of chargeability remain at November 8, 2009. Mexico remains at June 15, 2001, and the Philippines remains at November 8, 2003.

In the F4 category, China, India, and all other countries of chargeability are at December 15, 2007, while Mexico remains to April 1, 2001, and the Philippines remains at April 22, 2004.

For the purposes of the December 2022 bulletin AOS, USCIS has not yet indicated  which Chart to use for family-sponsored filings. Check back at a later point. If a particular immigrant visa category is “current” on the Final Action Dates chart or the cutoff date on the Final Action Dates chart is later than the date on the Dates for Filing chart, applicants in that immigrant visa category may file using the Final Action Dates chart during that month.

*The numbers in the brackets designate the amount of movement in the filing date for that particular category compared to the previous month. If there’s no bracket below certain dates, there is no movement for those dates/categories in the latest visa bulletin.

Family-Based Final Action Dates Chart

The Final Action Dates Chart shows no changes since the last Visa Bulletin. All countries in F-2A are current.

In the F-1 category, China, India, and the rest of the world remain on December 1, 2014. Mexico remains at November 15, 2000. The Philippines remains at March 1, 2012.

In the F-2B category, China, India, and the rest of the world remain at September 22, 2015, while Mexico remains at June 1, 2001, and the Philippines remains at October 22, 2011.

In the F-3 category, China, India, and the rest of the world stay on November 22, 2008, while Mexico remains on November 1, 1997, and the Philipines remains on June 8, 2002.

Finally, in the F-4 category, China and the rest of the world are on March 22, 2007, India on September 15, 2005, and the Philippines on August 22, 2002. Mexico remains at August 1, 2000.

*The numbers in the brackets designate the amount of movement in the final action date for that particular category compared to the previous month. If there’s no bracket below certain dates, there is no movement for those dates/categories in the latest visa bulletin.

Remember, marriage-based green card applicants, are known as immediate relatives and don’t have to wait to receive a green card.

Employment-Based Green Cards

With five different preference levels and seven chargeability areas, USCIS issues employment-based category visas through your job or occupation. The chargeability areas are China, India, Mexico, the Philippines, Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador), Vietnam, and the general category.

Employment-Based Final Action Dates Chart

We see all countries retrogress in EB-2 for the Final Action Dates Chart in the employment-based category. All countries in EB-1 are current.

In EB-2, Mexico, the Philippines, Central America, and the rest of the world retrogress to November 1, 2022. China moves to June 8, 2019, while India is at October 8, 2011.

For the EB-3 category, Mexico, the Philippines, Central America, and the rest of the world are current. Mainland China is at August 1, 2018, while India moves to June 15, 2012.

In the EB-4 category, all areas of chargeability are at June 22, 2022 including China, and the Philippines. Central America is at march 15, 2018.

For EB-5, all countries are current apart from China (March 22, 2015) and India (November 8, 2019).

USCIS has not yet specified to use the Dates For Filing Chart for all employment-based AOS Filings.

Employment-Based Dates for Filing Chart

Here are the December 2022 Visa Bulletin Final Action dates for employment-based immigrant visas. All countries in EB-1 are current in this bulletin.

In EB-2, we see Mexico, the Philippines, Central America, and the rest of the world move to December 1, 2022. China remained on July 8, 2019, and India stayed on May 1, 2012. In the EB-3 category, Mexico, the Philippines, Central America, and the rest of the world is current. China moves to September 1, 2018 while India moves to August 1, 2012. For EB-3 Other, we see Mexico, the Philippines, Central America and the rest of the world at September 8, 2022.

Finally, in the EB-5 unreserved category, Mexico, the Philippines, Central America, and the rest of the world are current. China remained on January 1, 2016, and India on December 8, 2019.

*The numbers in the brackets designate the amount of movement in the final action date for that particular category compared to the previous month. If there’s no bracket below certain dates, there is no movement for those dates/categories in the latest visa bulletin.

Important December 2022 Visa Bulletin Dates

For those new to the green card process, you should learn a few terms and remember to understand the rest of this December 2022 visa bulletin report. If you have further questions about the process or anything else about your green card, you should consult with your immigration attorney.

Priority Dates

The first term that you’ll hear thrown around is the priority date. Each person who files a petition with the USCIS receives a priority date when the government obtains your petition. A priority date establishes a person’s place in line to get an immigrant visa. Keep this date handy since you will need it to compare to the dates in this bulletin. Remember that your priority date does not move, and you cannot change it except under certain circumstances.

Note: Priority dates are not relevant for immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens (e.g., spouses or minor children) as that category is always current.

Final Action Dates

Final action dates are based on the green card category and the chargeability area—your country of origin. Therefore, the final action dates constantly change based on how many people from each chargeability area have petitioned for that green card.

If green cards are still available, the final action date will likely move closer to your priority date. If green cards are unavailable, you will not see any movement from that final action date. However, if the limit has passed, you may see the date retrogress or move backward from your priority date.

Once the final action date in your green card preference level and chargeability area reaches your priority date, your priority date will be considered current. Once current, you will adjust your status or go through consular processing.

Date for Filing Charts and I-485

You’ll notice there are two charts for each category.

The Date for Filing chart determines whether or not one can submit the final immigrant visa application.

The Final Action Date chart indicates whether an immigrant visa number will be available.

If you need to file an adjustment of status, Form I-485, you need to follow the Final Action Date chart to know when to file based on your priority date. However, sometimes USCIS will note that they’ll accept I-485s based on the Date for Filing chart. USCIS will use this chart when more immigrant visas are available than applicants.

USCIS announces which chart applicants can use within a week of the visa bulletin’s release.

Can You Shorten Your Waiting Time?

The short answer is: probably not. However, there are two prominent cases in which you may be able to shorten your green card processing time, which we will explain here.

The first way is to file an I-140 for a green card and chargeability area with a current priority date. In this case, rather than wait the usual six months for your petition to be processed, you can pay an additional fee for premium processing, which will shorten the processing time to 15 calendar days. However, this is only available for certain green cards that use the I-140. It is unavailable for family- or investment-based immigration and the EB-1C or EB-2 NIW.

The second situation involves green card “porting,” or transferring your application from a lower preference level to a higher one to take advantage of the shorter waiting times. This is misleading because you don’t port your green card. In reality, you need to start with a new petition (and a new PERM if necessary). The “porting” aspect only comes in when you indicate that you want to retain your original priority date.

As attractive as “porting” might seem, it is a delicate process with particular requirements. Therefore, running decisions like these through your immigration attorney is always good.

Staying Up-to-Date

In the world of immigration law, it always pays to be informed. The more you know about your green card, the easier it will be to make informed decisions about your case. To stay in the know about things like the newest visa bulletin, you can subscribe to the Department of State’s newsletter by emailing [email protected] with the message “Subscribe Visa Bulletin.”

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