January 2020 Visa Bulletin: Updated Predictions

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has released the January 2020 Visa Bulletin. This month’s visa bulletin also includes predictions for cutoff date movement in the coming months. All cutoff dates listed refer to the dates in the final action (FA) chart, unless otherwise specified.

Employment-Based, First Preference (EB1) Category

The EB1 cutoff date for China moved slightly forward to May 22, 2017. For India, the final action date remains at January 1, 2015. The EB1 category for all other countries of chargeability advances to October 01, 2018.

Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2) Category

The EB2 category remains current for all countries of chargeability except India and China. EB2 China moves ahead by one week to July 01, 2015.  EB2 India inches forward to May 18, 2009.

Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3) Category

EB3 China moves forward by one month to December 1, 2015. EB3 India continues to stall at a cutoff date of January 1, 2009. EB3 Philippines advances to March 15, 2018. All other cutoff dates are current in the EB3 category.

EB3 Other Workers

With the exception of China, the cutoff dates for EB3 other workers are the same for each country as its respective EB3 cutoff dates. For China, the cutoff date for EB3 other workers progresses to April 1, 2008.

Employment-Based, Fourth Preference (EB4) Category

Not including certain religious workers, the EB4 category sees little change. The cutoff date for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras stagnates at July 1, 2016, while Mexico’s FA date moves forward to August 8, 2017. This category remains current for all other countries of chargeability.

Employment-Based, Fifth Preference (EB5) Category

Not including regional center filings, the EB5 category remains current for all countries of chargeability except China, India, and Vietnam. For China, the cutoff date moves to November 22, 2014. EB5 India moves ahead by five months to May 1, 2018. For Vietnam, the EB5 cutoff date moves to December 8, 2016.

EB4 Certain Religious Workers and EB5 Regional Center Currently Listed as “Unavailable”

The EB4 category for certain religious workers and the EB5 Regional Center category are scheduled to expire at midnight tonight. However, the President is expected to sign a government funding bill later today that will extend both programs. Assuming this occurs, the cutoff dates in January for certain religious workers will match those of the standard EB4 category; similarly, upon an extension of the program, the cutoff dates for EB5 regional center cases will match those of non-regional center cases.


The January 2020 Visa Bulletin provides certain predictions for the employment-based categories.

  • EB1: There is rapid forward movement with the potential of becoming current for all countries of chargeability except from China and India. For EB1 China, the movement may be anywhere up to three weeks per month. For EB1 India, however, there is little (if any) movement expected.
  • EB2: The EB2 China cutoff date may advance by one month each month. EB2 India may advance by about one week per month. For all other countries of chargeability, it is likely that a cutoff date will be imposed at some point during the second half of the fiscal year.
  • EB3: Each month, EB3 China is expected to move forward by up to six weeks. The EB3 India cutoff date could advance by up to three weeks each month. EB3 Philippines may move ahead by one month per month. For all other countries of chargeability, it is likely that a date will be imposed no later than March 2020.
  • A cutoff date will likely be necessary for EB4 India by no later than July 2020. EB4 Mexico can expect limited movement forward, and El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras can expect little if any movement.
  • EB5: EB5 will remain current for most countries. It is possible that EB5 China may start advancing at a slightly faster pace. EB5 India is likely to start advancing at a very rapid pace until the level of demand increases. Meanwhile, EB5 Vietnam can expect limited forward movement.


MurthyDotCom will continue to closely monitor and report on movement and predictions related to the monthly visa bulletin. Subscribe to the MurthyBulletin to receive future updates.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.