December 2020 Visa Bulletin Published – USCIS Again Honors Dates of Filing

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The Department of State released the December 2020 Visa Bulletin and USCIS confirmed that it will follow the dates for filing chart.  Cut-off dates for filing in the employment-based first preference category advanced for Chinese and Indian nationals, but retrogressed in the third-preference categories for Indian nationals.

EMPLOYMENT-BASED (EB) PRIORITY DATE SUMMARY  for  dates of filing

EB-1, First Preference Category

  • Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico, and Philippines) remains current in December.
  • India and China:   The cut-off date for filing is November 1, 2020.

EB-2 Second Preference Category

  • Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico, and Philippines) remains current in December.
  • China: The cut-off date for filing held steady at October 1, 2016.
  • India:  The cut-off date for filing held steady at May 15, 2011.

EB-3, Third Preference Category

  • Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico, and Philippines) and EB-3 Worldwide Other Workers (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico, and Philippines) (including EB-3 Other Workers) remains  current in November.
  • EB-3 China’s cut-off date for filing held steady at June 1, 2018 and the cut-off date for EB-3 China Other Workers’ remains May 1, 2009.
  • EB-3 India’s (and EB-3 India Other Workers) cut-off date for filing retrogressed from January 1, 2015 to a new cut-off date of January 1, 2014.

Individuals with a priority date that is either “current” or before the published cut-off date may file an adjustment of status application based on the dates outlined above.

Employment-Based Final Action Dates

While an individual may file an adjustment of status  application using the dates for filing summarized above, an individual’s green card application may not be approved until the priority date is available under the final action dates, also posted on the Visa Bulletin.   The final action dates may differ significantly from the dates for filing, depending on the preference category and country of birth.  The December 2020 Visa Bulletin showed modest advancements in almost all of the employment-based categories final action dates.

WHAT SHOULD EMPLOYERS EXPECT?  

Employers should work with immigration counsel to identify foreign nationals who are eligible to file adjustment of status applications in December. Additionally, it will be particularly important to file adjustment of status applications in November for Indian nationals qualifying in the third-preference category with 2014 priority dates, as those with 2014 priority dates will lose their eligibility to file in December with the retrogression of priority dates from January 1, 2015 to January 1, 2014.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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