Your Guide to the October 2021 Visa Bulletin, What to Expect, and More!


Welcome back to Visalawyerblog! In this blog post, we will cover the release of the October Visa Bulletin 2021 and what you can expect for employment based and family preference categories during the month of October 2021.

The Department of State releases the visa bulletin on a monthly basis, which summarizes the availability of immigrant visa numbers for that particular month. The “Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications,” charts indicate when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit the required documentation to the National Visa Center.

If you would like to follow along on each month’s progress for the Visa Bulletin please be on the lookout for the “Chats with Charlie” series on the DOS YouTube Channel. 

Chats with Charlie is a monthly series recently launched by the State Department where Charlie Oppenheim, Chief of the Immigrant Visa Control & Reporting Division of the U.S. Department of State, answers your frequently asked questions regarding each month’s Visa Bulletin. Questions can be emailed to ahead of the event with “Chat with Charlie Question” in the subject line.

For a detailed dive into the October 2021 Chats with Charlie broadcast please click here.

Adjustment of Status Filings for those lawfully residing in the United States

In general, if USCIS determines there are more immigrant visas available for a fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, the agency will provide instructions on the webpage that applicants may use the Dates for Filing chart. Otherwise, USCIS will indicate that applicants must use the Final Action Dates chart to determine when they may file their adjustment of status application with USCIS. 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.

Adjustment of Status Filing Chart October 2021

For Family-Sponsored Filings:

Pursuant to guidance released by USCIS, in the F2A category, there is a cutoff date on the Dates for Filing chart. However, the category is “current” on the Final Action Dates chart. This means that applicants in the F2A category only may file using the Final Action Dates Chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for October 2021.

For all other family-sponsored preference categories, applicants must use the Dates for Filing Chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for October 2021.

For Employment-Based Preference Filings:

All applicants, except EB-5 Regional Center, falling under employment-based preference categories, must use the Dates for Filing chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for October 2021. This means that USCIS will accept employment-based adjustment of status applications with a priority date that is earlier than the Dates for Filing listed in the October Visa Bulletin.

NOTE: USCIS will not accept any new employment-based fifth preference adjustment of status applications based on the Regional Center Program until that program is reauthorized.

October 2021 Visa Bulletin Final Action Cutoff Dates

Employment Based Categories


According to the Department of State’s October 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.
  • EB-2: China will remain at July 1, 2018, and India will remain at September 1, 2011. All other countries will remain current.
  • EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers: Cutoff dates will remain the same for China at January 8, 2019, and for India at January 1, 2014. 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 Visa Bulletin. If reauthorized, the Regional Center program will mirror the Non-Regional Center final action dates.



Family Sponsored Categories

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



Charlie Oppenheim’s Notes on Employment Visa Availability through January 2022

In the October Bulletin, the State Department provides projections for immigrant visa availability through January 2022. The Department has predicted the following potential monthly cut-off date movements:

Family-sponsored: No movement is expected for F1, F2B, F3, and F4 categories. F2Aremains current.

Employment-based Categories:

  • EB-1 Worldwide: Remain current for all countries.
  • EB-1 China and India: Remain current
  • EB-2 Worldwide: Remain current for all countries.
  • EB-2 China and India: Advancement up to several months
  • EB-3 Worldwide: Retrogressed Final Action Dates could be imposed as early as November 2021
  • EB-3 China and India: Retrogressed Final Action Dates could be imposed as early as November 2021
  • EB-3 Mexico and Philippines: A final action date could be imposed as early as November
  • EB-4: Current for most countries. For Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras movement is limited (minimal if any)
  • EB-5: Current for most countries, but no forward movement expected for China.

Impact of President Biden’s Rescission of Proclamation 10014 on the Issuance of Immigrant Visas

In February of this year, President Biden made the decision to rescind Presidential Proclamation 10014 and lift the temporary suspension on the issuance of visas for most immigrant and nonimmigrant visa categories, however the operational capacity at U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide remains limited due to COVID-19 safety concerns.

The Department of State has said that while some Embassies are prioritizing immigrant visa scheduling for spouses of U.S. Citizens, public health and safety concerns remain paramount. Moreover, U.S. Embassies and Consulates are facing substantial backlogs due to the suspension of most visa operations.

Applicants who were previously subject to the immigrant visa ban under Proclamation 10014 may continue with pre-processing of their applications, however their cases will not be scheduled for an interview until Embassies and Consulates return to routine operational capacity. This will likely take time therefore applicants should expect long delays. Those who were previously refused under the Immigrant Visa ban must wait for further instruction from the U.S. Consulate handling their application.

The Expiration of the EB-5 Regional Center Program

The EB-5 Regional Center program expired on June 30, 2021, and is therefore listed as “unavailable” in the October 2021 Visa Bulletin. Absent legislative action in Congress to reauthorize the program, immigrant visa issuance and adjustment of status adjudications under this category will be halted as of the close of business on June 30, 2021. Bills to reauthorize the Regional Center program are still pending in Congress, and we do not yet know what the outcome of this legislation will be. All updates on approved legislation will be provided right here on our blog. Discussions to resuscitate the program remain ongoing before Congress.

For the latest information on the status of the EB-5 Regional Center program please click here.

As a reminder EB-5 applications that were not submitted as part of the Regional Center program remain unaffected.

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

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