What is the newsletter for?

At the same time, additional visas can be issued annually — in the event that they remain unused from the previous year. It is for the registration of visas that the visa bulletin is intended — it helps to orient both the government and potential immigrants.

In addition, the bulletin helps you understand when it is best to apply for a particular visa and when it can be approved.

How does the visa bulletin work?

  • First, it can be used as the last step in the green card process. The bulletin makes it easy to see if you can file an I-485 during immigration or if you can already get a green card at the US consulate and enter the country as a permanent resident.
  • Secondly, with the help of the bulletin, you can navigate the deadlines for submitting cases for different categories of visas. In one column you will see a list of countries, in the other — these same categories. Then look at the dates: until what date you can apply for a specific visa and when this period ends.

Can I file Form I-485 using the dates in the table?

You cannot do this until the priority date for you is up-to-date on the ballot, that is, current. You can use dates from the table only when the Immigration Service decides that it is allowed.

You can follow the priority dates in the table here.

What you need to know about the October 2020 Visa Bulletin?

This bulletin, which was released by the US State Department, marks the start of a new fiscal year. It runs from October 1st to September 30th — in this case from October 1st, 2020 to September 30th, 2021.

You need to know the following about it:

  • Each new fiscal year begins with the full number of statutory visas;
  • Visas that were not used for family reunification are added to the total number of workers;
  • Due to the fact that consulates were closed due to the pandemic, the number of family visas has decreased — and therefore there are more opportunities for foreign workers;
  • Since the Trump administration’s entry ban, the number of visas has dropped.

What happens if the ballot for next month changes?

Each bulletin is valid for a month and then updated. For example, if the new ballot shows that your priority date is no longer relevant, you will not be able to apply for a green card.


It’s simple: if the priority date is the current one in October 2020, submit all forms and petitions in this month. In addition, if you did everything on time, but next month you were asked for additional documents, and the date is no longer relevant, a visa is also unlikely to be issued.

If you want to get a specific visa, it is best to contact an immigration lawyer in the first place. Specialists always follow the visa bulletin and will be able to keep the client informed.

Glossary of basic terms

Priority Date

Priority filing date for the I-130 or I-140 petition. The exception is a petition based on labor certification.

Cutoff Date

The date indicated in the bulletin table as irrelevant.


Your priority date before the ballot date is for those who are filing Form I-485 or are about to receive a green card.


Applicants of all priority dates are eligible to apply.

Dates for Filing

Submission dates preceding the current ones — during this time period, you can collect documents and submit them to the visa application center in Kentucky.

Final Action Dates

Priority dates for those who have one step left to immigrate: getting a green card or submitting a form.

Visa Retrogression

A decrease in the number of visas in a certain category means that specific priority dates are no longer relevant in the next month.