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December 2022 Visa Bulletin

Jonathan Petts
November 21, 2022

Key Takeaways

The U.S. Department of State released the December 2022 Visa Bulletin, which is the final bulletin of the year. Family-based green card cut-off times are the same for December as they were in November. This means the USCIS backlog — your wait time to apply for your green card — hasn’t changed either. There was more movement with employment-based green card cut-offs. The wait times for EB-2 and EB-3 applicants from China and India increased slightly. One piece of good news: The wait times for special immigrants, EB-4 applicants, decreased by 4 months and 1 day for all countries except those in Central America.

Table of Contents

How To Read the December 2022 Visa Bulletin

The U.S. Department of State has published its December 2022 Visa Bulletin, which shows the most recent priority date cut-offs for green card filings.

The Visa Bulletin can be confusing to look at, so we’ve put all the information you need to know in easy-to-read charts below. To find the cut-off date for your category, you’ll need to know your preference category and your priority date.

Your preference category is based on:

  • Your familial connection if you’re applying for a family-based green card
  • Your professional credentials and education if you’re applying for an employment-based green card

Your priority date is the date USCIS received your green card application. You can find yours on the Notice of Action (Form I-797) that USCIS sent you via mail or email (if you submitted Form G-1145) after receiving your application.

If your priority date is before the cut-off date listed in the relevant chart below — congratulations! — you can submit your green card application. If your priority date is after the cut-off date, you need to wait to submit your green card application.*

If you want to learn more about the Visa Bulletin, preference categories, or priority dates, you can read our Visa Bulletin guide. If you need help applying for status or understanding your case, you can use our free web tool. If we aren’t able to help you, we can refer you to an experienced immigration attorney.

*There are two different dates on the Visa Bulletin: Final Action Dates and Dates for Filing. Each month USCIS announces which date U.S.-based green card applicants should reference. The information in the tables below will always reference whichever date USCIS has announced for the current month.

Family-Based Green Cards by Preference Category

There has been no change to the cut-off dates for family green cards in any preference category. That means your wait time when you checked last month’s bulletin is still your wait time now. 

Some trends of note:

Mexican nationals continue to have the longest wait times for family-based green cards in all preference categories except F2A/Second Preference, which includes spouses and children of permanent residents and is current for all countries as of the December 2022 Visa Bulletin.

This means Mexican nationals who are siblings, married children, or unmarried children of U.S. citizens or who are unmarried children of a U.S. legal permanent resident must often wait several years longer than people who apply for a family-based green card in the same category from a different country.

Nationals of the Philippines have the second longest family green card wait times by country.

Backlog for F1 (first preference) Green Cards: Unmarried Children (at least 21 years old) of U.S. Citizens

Country Cut-Off Date Previous Cut-Off Date Change in Wait Time
All other countries* August 8, 2016 August 8, 2016 No change
China- mainland born August 8, 2016 August 8, 2016 No change
India August 8, 2016 August 8, 2016 No change
Mexico December 1, 2002 December 1, 2002 No change
Philippines April 22, 2015 April 22, 2015 No change

Backlog for F2A (second preference) Green Cards: Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents

Country Cut-Off Date Previous Cut-Off Date Change in Wait Time
All other countries* Current Current No change
China- mainland born Current Current No change
India Current Current No change
Mexico Current Current No change
Philippines Current Current No change

Backlog for F2B (Second Preference) Green Cards: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents

Country Cut-Off Date Previous Cut-Off Date Change in Wait Time
All other countries* January 1, 2017 January 1, 2017 No change
China- mainland born January 1, 2017 January 1, 2017 No change
India January 1, 2017 January 1, 2017 No change
Mexico January 1, 2002 January 1, 2002 No change
Philippines October 1, 2013 October 1, 2013 No change

Backlog for F3 (Third Preference) Green Cards: Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens

Country Cut-Off Date Previous Cut-Off Date Change in Wait Time
All other countries* November 8, 2009 November 8, 2009 No change
China- mainland born November 8, 2009 November 8, 2009 No change
India November 8, 2009 November 8, 2009 No change
Mexico June 15, 2001 June 15, 2001 No change
Philippines November 8, 2003 November 8, 2003 No change

Backlog for F4 (Fourth Preference) Green Cards: Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens

Country Cut-Off Date Previous Cut-Off Date Change in Wait Time
All other countries* December 15, 2007 December 15, 2007 No change
China- mainland born December 15, 2007 December 15, 2007 No change
India February 22, 2006 February 22, 2006 No change
Mexico April 1, 2001 April 1, 2001 No change
Philippines April 22, 2004 April 22, 2004 No change

What This Means for Family-Based Green Card Applicants

If your priority date is before the cut-off date listed above, you can submit your green card application. If your priority date is after the cut-off date, you need to wait to submit your green card application. Your priority date is the date USCIS received your Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative. You can find your priority date on the Notice of Action (Form I-797) that USCIS sends you to confirm it’s received your I-130 application.

Wondering about next steps? Our free web tool can help you apply for status, understand your case, and connect with an attorney if you need help with your immigration application.

Employment-Based Green Cards by Preference Category

There is no wait time for EB-1 applicants (priority workers) from any country and most EB-5 (immigrant investors) green card applicants — India and China still have a backlog, though it’s unchanged from last month. Those are the only preference categories for employment green cards that did not see some changes to the current backlog:

  • The wait time for EB-2 and EB-3 green card applicants from China and India increased. For EB-2 applicants the increase was a moderate 10 days, but for EB-3 applicants the wait increased by one month for Indian applicants and over 1.5 months for applicants from China.
  • Good news for EB-4 green card applicants (special immigrants): Wait times decreased by four months for all countries excluding Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Backlog for EB-1 Green Cards for Priority Workers

Country Cut-Off Date Previous Cut-Off Date Change in Wait Time
All other countries* Current Current No change
China- mainland born Current Current No change
El Salvador/Guatemala/Honduras Current Current No change
India Current Current No change
Mexico Current Current No change
Philippines Current Current No change

Backlog for EB-2 Green Cards for Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability

Country Cut-Off Date Previous Cut-Off Date Change in Wait Time
All other countries* December 1, 2022 Current Increased by 10 Days
China- mainland born July 8, 2019 July 8, 2019 No change
El Salvador/Guatemala/Honduras December 1, 2022 Current Increased by 10 Days
India May 1, 2012 May 1, 2012 No change
Mexico December 1, 2022 Current Increased by 10 Days
Philippines December 1, 2022 Current Increased by 10 Days

Backlog for EB-3 Green Cards for Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers

Country Cut-Off Date Previous Cut-Off Date Change in Wait Time
All other countries* Current Current No change
China- mainland born September 1, 2018 July 15, 2018 Increased by 1 Month 17 Days
El Salvador/Guatemala/Honduras Current Current No change
India August 1, 2012 July 1, 2012 Increased by 1 Month
Mexico Current Current No change
Philippines Current Current No change

Backlog for EB-4 Green Cards for Certain Special Immigrants

Country Cut-Off Date Previous Cut-Off Date Change in Wait Time
All other countries* July 22, 2022 Current Decreased by 4 Months 1 Day
China- mainland born July 22, 2022 Current Decreased by 4 Months 1 Day
El Salvador/Guatemala/Honduras April 15, 2018 April 15, 2018 No change
India July 22, 2022 Current Decreased by 4 Months 1 Day
Mexico October 15, 2020 October 15, 2020 No change
Philippines July 22, 2022 Current Decreased by 4 Months 1 Day

Backlog for EB-5 Green Cards for Immigrant Investors

Country Cut-Off Date Previous Cut-Off Date Change in Wait Time
All other countries* Current Current No change
China- mainland born January 1, 2016 January 1, 2016 No change
El Salvador/Guatemala/Honduras Current Current No change
India December 8, 2019 December 8, 2019 No change
Mexico Current Current No change
Philippines Current Current No change

What This Means for Employment-Based Green Card Applicants

If your priority date is before the cut-off date listed above, you can submit your green card application. If your priority date is after the cut-off date, you need to wait to submit your green card application. Your priority date is the date USCIS received your PERM application or (if not required) the date USCIS received your Form I-140 or Form I-526, employment-based visa petition. You can find your priority date on the Notice of Action (Form I-797) that USCIS sends you to confirm it’s received your employment-based visa application.

Unsure of what to do next? Our free web tool can help you apply for status, understand your case, and connect with an attorney if you need help.

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