May 2021 Visa Bulletin

Posted by Frank Gogol

The one thing visa petitioners are always on the lookout for is whether their priority date will get advanced or pushed back in upcoming months. Recently, all of the employment-based categories were being pushed forward almost every month. With the release of the May 2021 visa bulletin, is this momentum going to continue? This is the question that eligible applicants have on their minds. 

Visa applicants might also have specific other questions as well. For instance, which countries will remain “current” and what are the Final Action cut-off dates for each of the different employment-based categories? Is the COVID-19 pandemic going to affect the issuance of visas in May 2021, similar to Feb 2021 and March 2021?

We break down everything you need to know about the new visa bulletin predictions. We will also explore what eligible applicants can expect in the coming days. 

May 2021 Visa Bulletin Summary

The State Department Visa Bulletin is usually updated monthly. Recent months have seen forward movement in terms of the employment-based categories. This seems to be a trend that is going to continue in May as well. 

The Visa Bulletin for May 2021 shows a few backlogs in obtaining green cards for the employment-based categories. However, various factors affect the time it will take to get a green card, including country of birth and the category of the visa petition. Below is a breakdown of the Final Action cut-off dates for different employment-based categories according to the May 2021 Visa Bulletin.


Employment-Based, First Preference (EB1) Category

The employment-based, first preference category consists of priority workers who are either persons of extraordinary ability, managers of multinational corporations, or professors and researchers who are outstanding in their field.

Your priority date for this category is when the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) received the visa petition (the I-140 petition), which was either filed by yourself or your employer.

Once you have figured out your priority date, you can head over to the State Department Visa Bulletin for May 2021 and check whether it is “current” or not.

According to the Visa Bulletin released by the State Department for this month, all countries will remain “current,” including India and China.

Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2) Category

This category consists of green cards that are handed out to those professionals who hold advanced degrees in their field and those who possess exceptional abilities in arts, sciences, or business. This category can also include those professionals who qualify for certain national interest waivers.

What is the priority date for your EB2 visa? Much like the EB1 category, your priority date will be the day on which the USCIS received the I-140 visa petition filed by your employer. If, however, the PERM process was used by your employer to sponsor you for a green card, your priority date is going to be the day on which the United States Department of Labor received your PERM application.

Once you have figured out your priority date, head on over to the monthly Visa Bulletin to check whether the date has become current or not. For the May 2021 Visa Bulletin for the EB2 category, all countries except India and China will remain current. India and China will both be moved up by three months. India will be advanced to August 1, 2010, while China will be moved up to December 1, 2016

Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3) Category

In this category, employers can sponsor visas for those professionals who hold a baccalaureate degree or have had at least two years of work experience or professional training. This category also consists of those workers who are capable of unskilled labor as well.

The priority dates for the EB3 category are going to remain current for all countries except China and India. While the date for China will be advanced by two months to May 15, 2018, the date for India will be moved up by five months to February 1, 2011.

Employment-Based, Fifth Preference (EB5) Category

This category is reserved for those investors who wish to obtain a green card after investing at least $1.8 million in an upcoming commercial enterprise. The investors must be able to create at least ten jobs for United States workers. However, if the new enterprise is not located in an urban area, the investor is only required to invest $900,000 to obtain a green card through this visa petition.

Those applicants who are trying to obtain a visa in the EB5 category will be able to get information regarding their priority date on the official website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Once you have figured out your priority date for the EB5 category, the next step is to check whether your country has become current in the new Visa Bulletin for May 2021.

The Final Action cut-off dates for May 2021 show that all the countries will remain current for the EB5 category, including India. China and Vietnam are the main countries that see some kind of movement in this month’s visa bulletin. Vietnam is going to advance by two months while China is going to remain frozen. The date for China is August 15, 2015, while the date for Vietnam has been pushed forward to February 15, 2018.

What to Expect Next

You might be wondering how the entry ban that President Trump issued is going to affect visa issuance in May 2021. While the entry ban by President Trump majorly impacted the issuance of immigrant visas in foreign countries, President Biden issued a rescission. However, this did not help the situation too much. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the issuance of immigrant visas abroad, which is why there are several backlogs in the May 2021 Visa Bulletin. The pandemic has unfortunately forced the U.S. consulate to reduce its consular operations, which has led to several restrictions on the issuance of visas in the coming days. 

All consulates are trying to catch up as much as possible with each other. Still, with limited resources and personnel on board, it becomes difficult to work through the backlogs. Therefore, it is only natural that those applicants who are eligible for a visa might experience some delays in the process.


As you can see, the biggest visa movements can be seen in India and China across all categories. All other countries are going to remain current for the May 2021 Visa Bulletin. You should also note that the USCIS will accept adjustments of status applications for employment-based categories, even if priority dates are earlier than the Final Action Dates listed in the Visa Bulletin for May 2021. This is a trend that has continued from the April 2021 Visa Bulletin.