What is happening with F2B- All Countries?
In order to fully understand where we are with F2B, we need to go back to Fiscal Year 2019 (FY2019), which took place from October 2018 to September 2019. At the time, it feels like the Visa Office was unhappy with the ‘response rate’ to the Welcome Letters sent by the National Visa Center (NVC). In other words, they felt that not enough applicants were submitting forms and documents, and moving towards being ‘documentarily qualified’ (or ‘interview-ready’). As a consequence, they moved the F3 worldwide Final Action Date (F.A.D.) forward very rapidly during FY2019, making it the best in the last 20 years.
FY2020 is the year where the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and the weirdest thing happened: the Visa Office of the U.S. State Department advanced the F.A.D more rapidly during the second half of FY2020 (from April to September 2020) then it did during the first half of the year (from October 2019 to March 2020). In other words, the F.A.D. (Graph A.) advanced more after the pandemic started than before!
So let’s see how the last two Fiscal Years did when compared with the averages of prior decades. Here we are comparing the last two Fiscal Years (2020 and 2021) in red with an average of the last decade (2010 – 2019) that is shown in green, and the average of the decade before that (2000 – 2009) that is shown in blue.
Yes, obviously the decade of 2010 – 2019 is significantly slower than the 2000 – 2009 one, which means that the pace of advancement of F2B is slowing down. But the point here is that FY2020 and 2021 have essentially been on par with the average of the last decade, even when the number of F2B interviews was severely curtailed.
So what did we see? We saw the best year of the last 20 years (FY2019) followed by two years on par with recent averages that took place when not that many Green Card were issued.
The consequences of this sequence of events is easy to understand: there is a backlog of worldwide F2B applications that are either already ‘documentarily qualified’ at the National Visa Center (NVC), or that are on the verge of being so.
The State Department will have to go through this backlog of interviews before the F2B F.A.D can start moving forward again.
How did the Final Action Date move in the past few months?
|Visa Bulletin Date:||Sep 2022|
|Final Action Date:||Sep 22, 2015|
Fiscal Year 2020 and 2021 have essentially been on par with the average of the last decade, even when the number of F2B interviews was severely reduced by the pandemic. As a consequence, there is a backlog of worldwide F2B applications that are either already ‘documentarily qualified’ at the National Visa Center (NVC) and the State Department will need to go through that backlog before we can see the dates move forward again.
|Sep 2022||Sep 22, 2015||None|
|Aug 2022||Sep 22, 2015||None|
|Jul 2022||Sep 22, 2015||None|
|Jun 2022||Sep 22, 2015||None|
|May 2022||Sep 22, 2015||None|
|Apr 2022||Sep 22, 2015||None|
What can we say about ‘time to current’?
Time to current measures the time it takes an applicant to have their ‘priority date’ current when compared to the ‘final action date’ of the Visa Bulletin. Although not factually correct, time to current is often used by applicants as an estimation of how long it is going to take them to get their Green Card. We also make predictions about time to current for our Green Card dynamic timeline predictions: the process of scheduling a Green Card interview cannot be initiated before the applicant’s date is ‘current’, so it is one of the key ‘anchor’ of the process.
Let’s note that before the pandemic, ‘time to current’ was definitely and decisively heading in the right direction:
The incredibly sad news here is that family Green Cards that were not issued over the last two years are gone forever. They are not coming back for family (they were transferred to ’employment’ based Green Cards). As a result, time to current will go up:
I am going through adjustment of status, what else applies to me?
Applicants going through Adjustment of Status are often allowed to use the ‘Filing Date’ of the Visa Bulletin to determine when they are allowed to file Form I-485. Here is the latest:
|Jan 8, 2015||+5 weeks||✔︎ Yes, the Filing Date can be used|
Should you stay in F2B by ‘opting out’ of F1?
Some F2B applicants have the option to become F1 applicants when their sponsor naturalize. The great advantage of becoming F1 is that your Green Card application is no longer terminated if you get married (as an F1 you are switched to F3).
But if marriage is for reason or another not a concern as an F2B applicant, and your sponsor gets U.S. Citizenship, you have the option to ‘switch’ from F2B to F1, or they can ‘opt-out’ and stay F2B.
The following graph represents F1 minus F2B. If F1 minus F2B yields a positive number, then it means that the Final Action Date for F1 is ahead of the F2B one, and F1 has the advantage (and applicants should welcome the switch to F1).
If the number is negative, the opposite is true: F2B is ahead of F1, an a case can be made that ‘opting out’ of F2B and staying in F1 is the best course of action.
|Does F1 have an advantage over F2B?||No|
|Should applicants 'opt-out' of F1?||Yes|
|Where is F1 compared to F2B (in Months)?||-9.8|
|Last update?||September 2022|
Switching to F1 used to be an obvious choice. For the last few years however, ‘opting-out’ and staying in F2B has been the way to go.
When will Immigration Planner update its predictions?
We expect to update our predictions the day after the next Visa Bulletin is released. Our best guess as to when we will update these predictions is as follows:
Sep 15, 2022
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