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

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Pasricha & Patel

In the follow-up to the highly anticipated October 2020 Visa Bulletin, the USCIS has decided once again to follow the same filing charts for the November 2020 Visa Bulletin.

The USCIS has decided to continue to follow the previous months’ filing procedures and set that for family-sponsored filings, filers should continue to follow the Dates for Filing for Family-Sponsored Adjustment of Status Applications for the November 2020 Visa Bulletin.

And just like in 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 August 2020, and this applies to all nationalities.

Following the great advancements in the October 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 November 2020 visa bulletin.

More specifically, the USCIS has generally maintained the filing dates for the EB-1 through EB-5 visa preference categories the same in November 2020 as it was in the October 2020 filing chart.

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 (4 th) Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR) category, as well as the Employment Fifth Preference Pilot (I5 and R5) Categories until December 11, 2020.

Just as it was explained in the October 2020 visa bulletin, the U.S. Department of State had calculated the employment-based immigrant visa annual limit for FY2021 to be about 261,500, which is a historical high mark. The reason for this is due to several factors: (a) the slow-down in family-based immigrant visa processing in last year FY2020 because of the COVID 19 pandemic; (b) this resulted in consular office reduction of hours and/or closings; (c) and the Presidential proclamation that limited visa issuances in the spring of 2020 and is still ongoing. In fact, due to the relative low demand for visa numbers for the fiscal year 2021 as projected by the U.S. Department of State so far, this also means the US Department of States cautiously suggests that there will be rapid forward movement for the upcoming few months in the start of FY2021. U.S. Department of State even concludes by stating that adjustment of status applications filed early in FY 2021 are most likely to be adjudicated during the upcoming fiscal year. This latest November 2020 visa bulletin appears to confirm the Department of State’s earlier projections.

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 ha advanced as well, it is still quite slow and steady. For example, the Final Action Date for EB-2 India in the November 2020 visa bulletin moved slightly from October 2020: from September 1, 2009 in October to September 22, 2009 in the November 2020 visa bulletin.

But encouragingly, the EB-3 visa preference category in the Final Action Date table did move up to March 1, 2010, whereas the EB-3 category in October 2020 was January 15, 2010. It moved about a month and a half.

And a look at China’s EB-3 (Other Workers) date show that the Final Action Date moved from December 1, 2008 in the October 2020 visa bulletin to January 1, 2009 in the November 2020 visa bulletin.

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.