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USCIS Sets the December 2020 Adjustment of Status Filing Charts For the Visa Bulletin

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Pasricha & Patel

Shortly after the publication of the December 2020 visa bulletin by the U.S. Department of State, the USCIS has announced that it will continue to follow the Dates for Filing for Family-Sponsored Adjustment of Status Applications for the December 2020 Visa Bulletin.

As it has become customary from previous months, because the F2A category remains ‘Current’ on the Final Action Dates Chart for Family-sponsored preference cases, this means that applicants in the F2A category (spouses and children of permanent residents) may continue to use the Final Action Dates chart for December 2020, and this applies to all nationalities.

Following the great advancements in the October 2020 Visa Bulletin, and maintaining the same in the November 2020 visa bulletin, the USCIS has decided to continue to permit filers in the employment-based preference filings to continue following the Dates for Filing for Employment-Based Adjustment of Status Applications for the December 2020 visa bulletin.

Interestingly, in the December 2020 visa bulletin, the EB-3 India category retrogressed to January 1, 2014. Meanwhile, the EB-2 India category remains at May 15, 2011. In EB-1 India category, the date advanced to November 1, 2020. Even EB-1 China moved ahead to November 1, 2020. This rapid advancement in the EB-1 category is also reflected in the separate Final Action Dates for Employment-based Preference Cases for both India and China. The reason for this is because there are unused EB-5 immigrant investor visa numbers that are available due to the drop in immigrant visa applications pursued at U.S. consulates and embassies abroad because of consular closures. This trend may continue for the next few months as well.

Separately, the Department of State also confirms that due to H.R. 8337 — Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act (P.L. 116- 159), this also allows the extension of both the Employment-based Fourth (4th) Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR) category, as well as the Employment Fifth Preference Pilot (I5 and R5) Categories until December 11, 2020.

A reminder for readers though: even though the USCIS is permitting filers to submit their I-485 adjustment of status applications well in advance of the actual visa availability date as set in the Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases, this simply means the USCIS will accept these I-485 filings, but the actual time it would take for the filers to achieve lawful permanent residence status will still be years away. That is because while the dates in the Final Action Date table have advanced as well, it is still quite slow and steady. For example, the Final Action Date for EB-2 India in the December 2020 visa bulletin moved slightly: from September 22, 2009 in the November 2020 visa bulletin to October 1, 2009 in the December 2020 visa bulletin.

Of note, the EB-3 India visa preference category in the Final Action Date table did move up from March 1, 2010 to March 15, 2010.

Once again, due to the expected fluid nature of the visa number movement in these next months, and coupled by the uncertainties posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we do advise readers to refer back to our site regularly for any updates and new developments about the monthly visa bulletin.

Should you have any further questions about the different visa preference categories and filing procedures, please do not hesitate to contact our office to schedule a consultation to discuss your concerns further.