Blog by Pasricha & Patel, LLC

USCIS Confirms that it will continue to follow the Dates for Filing Charts for both Family-based and Employment-based immigrant visas for January 2020

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Pasricha & Patel

With the publication of the January 2020 Visa Bulletin by the U.S. Department of State, the USCIS has continued its policy and instructed filers for Family-Sponsored Filings to follow the Dates for Filing Chart for January 2020 visa bulletin (note: the F2A Spouse and Children of Permanent Resident will continue to follow the Final Action Dates chart for Family-Sponsored Visa Applications, which remains ‘Current’ for F2A preference category).

And for the filers in the Employment-based Filings, the USCIS has continued to follow its practice from the past few months and confirmed that applicants must follow the “Dates for Filing of Employment-based Visa Applications” for the January 2020 visa bulletin. This is the fourth month in a row that the USCIS has chosen to follow the Dates for Filing Charts for both the family-based and employment-based immigrant visa applications.

In the January 2020 visa bulletin, the U.S. Department of State has also provided upcoming projections of how the preference category visas will look like in the upcoming months:

Family-sponsored preference visa availability in the coming months:

  • F2A (Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents): The Department of State has received information from the National Visa Center that it is starting to see a rise in demand for this particular visa category. So, it is likely that a final action date will be imposed within the next few months. DOS does say that this will not likely have any negative impact on those who have already acted on their cases in a timely manner prior to the announcement of the January final action dates.
  • F4 (Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens): In the past two (2) fiscal years, DOS had to advance the ‘Rest of the World’ final action date rather quickly in order to generate enough demand to reach the annual limit for this category. In recent months, there has indeed been a dramatic increase in the level of F4 demand. This will require the retrogression of the “Rest of the World” final action date, and it will likely happen in February 2020. This action will be needed in order to hold the number usage within the F4 category’s Fiscal Year 2020 annual limit.

FAMILY-sponsored categories (potential monthly movement) 

Worldwide dates:

F1 (Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens): Up to six weeks

F2A (Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents): Final Action Date established

F2B (Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older): Up to three weeks

F3 (Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens): One to three weeks

F4 (Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens): Once the retrogression occurs that date is likely to be held for a period of time

EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement) 

Employment First (EB-1):

WORLDWIDE: Rapid forward movement expected, potentially becoming Current
China: Up to three weeks
India: Little if any forward movement is expected

Employment Second (EB-2):

Worldwide: A date will most likely be imposed at some point during the second half of the fiscal year
China: Up to one month
India: Up to one week

Employment Third (EB-3):

Worldwide: A date will most likely be imposed no later than March
China: Up to six weeks
India: Up to three weeks
Mexico: Will remain at the Worldwide date
Philippines: Up to one month

Employment Third (EB-3) – Other Workers:

Worldwide: A date will most likely be imposed no later than March

Employment Fourth (EB-4): Current for most countries

El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras: Little if any movement through May
India: A date will most likely be imposed no later than July
Mexico: Limited forward movement

Employment Fifth (EB-5): The category will remain “Current” for most countries

China: It may be possible to advance the date at a slightly faster pace
India: Likely to advance at a very rapid pace until the level of demand increases
Vietnam: Limited forward movement

The Department of State also clarifies that these Final Action Date projections for the Family and Employment categories listed above indicate what is likely to happen on a monthly basis through April or May. The determination of the actual monthly final action dates is subject to fluctuations in applicant demand and a number of other variables. Nevertheless, this does provide a general idea for the petitioners and the applicants about the visa number movements for the first few months of year 2020.

What this also means is that the visa number movements are in flux right now, and we do recommend our readers to watch out for regular updates on our site for any further developments.

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.