USCIS Sets the October 2020 Adjustment of Status Filing Charts from the Visa Bulletin
Pasricha & Patel
For the much eagerly awaited October 2020 Visa Bulletin just published by the U.S. Department of State, 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 October 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.
But unlike in previous months, the USCIS has decided to permit filers in the employment-based preference filings to follow the Dates for Filing for Employment-Based Adjustment of Status Applications for the October 2020 visa bulletin.
In fact, by permitting the use of this particular filing table, this will mean a large number of eligible filers can start to submit their I-485 adjustment of status petitions starting in October 2020.
For example, in the EB-1 visa category, India will advance to September 1, 2020, which means USCIS will accept those EB-1 I-140 filers whose immigrant petitions were filed before September 1, 2020 to also submit their I-485 adjustment of status applications (along with I-765 Employment Authorization Document, and Advance Parole travel document). China has also moved to September 1, 2020 for its EB-1 filers.
Interestingly, in the EB-2 visa category, Indian nationals who have I-140 priority dates before May 15, 2011 can start to submit their I-485 adjustment of status applications in October 2020.
And what is even more impressive is that for EB-3 visa category, Indian nationals who have I-140 priority dates before January 1, 2015 can now submit their I-485 adjustment of status applications starting in the month of October 2020.
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 historically 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 are still ongoing. In fact, due to the relatively 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 a 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.
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 moved from July 8, 2009 in the September 2020 visa bulletin to September 1, 2009 in the October 2020 visa bulletin. It moved a mere two (2) months.
Due to the fluid nature of the visa number movement in these 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.