Family Sponsored and Employment Based Updates: Visa Bulletin for November 2021

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the November Visa Bulletin and what you can expect in terms of movement or retrogression in the employment based and family sponsored preference categories.

Want to know more? Just keep on watching.


What’s happening in the family-sponsored categories?

Due to the ongoing pandemic and unprecedented backlogs at U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide, with the exception of the F2A category which remains current, there has been no movement in the worldwide family-sponsored preference categories. Charles Oppenheim, the Chief of the Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting Division of the U.S. Department of State, has said that he does not expect any movement whatsoever in the family sponsored worldwide dates before January and possibly even longer.

Consular posts and Embassies are doing their best to normalize operating capacity, however the majority of posts continue to work on a limited basis according to a four-tier prioritization schedule. Delays in visa processing continue to be expected for the foreseeable future based on the extraordinary demand for interview appointments and the lack of resources at Consular posts overseas to accommodate interviews for all applicants.

With respect to the F2A category, spouses and children of permanent residents lawfully residing in the United States can proceed with filing their adjustment of status applications with USCIS given that the F2A category remains current.

What’s happening in the employment-based categories?

According to the Department of State’s November 2021 Visa Bulletin, the following final cutoff dates will apply for the issuance of an immigrant visa for employment-based categories:

  • EB-1: All countries, including China and India, will remain current. This trend is expected to continue at least through the end of the year
  • EB-2: China will advance by four and a half months to November 15, 2018, and India will advance by three months to December 1, 2011. All other countries will remain current.
  • EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers: EB-3 India has retrogressed almost two full years to January 15, 2012. EB-3 China has retrogressed by about nine and a half months to March 22, 2018. All other countries will remain current.

Why the retrogression in the EB-3 category for India and China?

In the October Chats with Charlie YouTube broadcast, Mr. Charles Oppenheim pointed out that starting October 1, 2021, he observed that the pending demand at both the State Department and USCIS in the employment third preference category for applicants born in India and China had already exceeded the amount of numbers available to applicants from those countries throughout fiscal year 2022. For that reason, he was forced to make the decision to retrogress those application dates for filing to limit new applications for adjustment of status, which the State Department did not at the time anticipate could be processed during fiscal year 2022.

Moving forward it is expected that more categories will be subject to a retrogression. In the November Chats with Charlie YouTube broadcast, a viewer asked how inter-filing from EB-3 to the EB-2 category would impact movement for India.

Charlie said that if USCIS and the State Department see a significant number of third preference applicants from China and India, upgrading to second preference status, it will reduce the availability of employment second preference numbers and limit the future movement of both the China and India second preference categories. However, he pointed out that it is still too early to know when the category might retrogress and to what extent. He also stated that the availability of unused employment first preference numbers could benefit the second preference category, because if additional unused employment first preference numbers are available, they can fall down and then be utilized in the employment second preference category. We will of course keep our readers updated on any new developments.

  • EB-4 Special Immigrants: El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, remains the same at March 15, 2019, while Mexico advances to April 1, 2020. All other countries will remain current.
  • EB-5: The Non-Regional Center program will be current for all countries except China. China will remain at November 22, 2015. The Regional Center program has expired and is listed as unavailable in the November Visa Bulletin. If reauthorized, the Regional Center program will mirror the Non-Regional Center final action dates.

Looking Forward

These trends are likely to continue in both the family-sponsored and employment-based categories due to the substantial burden on both USCIS and Consular posts to handle the large influx of applications. Unless legislative action is taken, or some major policy decisions are made these trends and predictions will hold steady for the months to come. We will continue to update our readers and report back on the movement or retrogression of the different categories as we move into the new year.

In the meantime, we encourage you to review the latest Chats with Charlie YouTube broadcasts, where he provides further details regarding the movement and retrogression of the various categories. You can find detailed transcripts of those broadcasts in our helpful links down below.

Questions? If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text 619-483-4549 or call 619-819-9204.

Helpful Links


Need more immigration updates? We have created a new facebook group to address the impact of the new executive order and other changing developments related to COVID-19. Follow us there.

For other COVID 19 related immigration updates please visit our Immigration and COVID-19 Resource Center here.