US Department of State Releases November 2020 Visa Bulletin

Morgan Lewis
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Morgan LewisThe USCIS has announced that it will use the Dates for Filing chart in November, maintaining October’s significant advancement in EB-3, especially for persons chargeable to India, while all EB categories for the rest of the world will remain current.

The US Department of State has released its November 2020 Visa Bulletin, outlining per-country priority date cutoffs that regulate immigrant visa availability and the flow of adjustment of status application and consular immigrant visa application filings and approvals. The delay in the issuing of the Visa Bulletin has not been satisfactorily explained; a likely reason is the time it took the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to make its calculations of the financial benefit offered by a further month of adjustment of status application filings.

WHAT DOES THE NOVEMBER 2020 VISA BULLETIN SAY?

The bulletin includes both a Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart and an Application Final Action Dates chart. The former indicates when intending immigrants may file their applications for adjustments of status or immigrant visas, and the latter indicates when adjustment of status applications or immigrant visa applications may be approved and permanent residence granted.

Each month, the USCIS chooses which chart it will follow. This month, the USCIS will follow the later “Dates for Filing” for Employment-Based Visa Applications chart for employment-based (EB) filings for adjustment of status. This means that individuals seeking to file applications for adjustment of status with USCIS in November 2020 may use the Dates for Filing chart below.

DATES FOR FILING CUTOFF DATES

To be eligible to file an EB adjustment application in October 2020, a foreign national must have a priority date that is earlier than the date listed below for his or her preference category and country.

The “C” listing indicates that the category is current, and that applications may be filed regardless of the applicant’s priority date. The listing of a date for any category indicates that only applicants with a priority date that is earlier than the listed date may file their applications.

Employ-ment
Based

All Charge-ability Areas Except Those Listed

China-
Mainland
Born

El Salvador
Guatemala
Honduras

India

Mexico

Philippines

Vietnam

1st

C

01SEP20 (unchanged)

C

01SEP20 (unchanged)

C

C

C

2nd

C

01OCT16 (unchanged)

C

15MAY11 (unchanged)

C

C

C

3rd

C

01JUN18 (unchanged)

C

01JAN15

(unchanged)

C

C

C

Other Workers

C

01MAY09 (was 01OCT08)

C

01JAN15 (unchanged)

C

C

C

4th

C

C

01FEB18

C

C

C

C

COMMENTS

The highlight of the November Visa Bulletin is obviously the maintenance of the October advancement in EB-3 cutoff dates, especially for persons chargeable to India, whose cutoff date moved from October 1, 2009 to January 1, 2015 in October. It is also noteworthy that the EB-3 cutoff dates for persons chargeable to India and China continue to be later than the EB-2 cutoff dates for persons chargeable to these countries.

A person with an approved EB-2 petition may “downgrade” to the EB-3 category and receive the benefit of the later cutoff date by filing another I-140 petition in the EB-3 category. It is expected that there will continue to be a large volume of adjustment of status applications filed in November by persons whose previously backlogged cutoff dates have now become current and by persons who choose to downgrade to the EB-3 category.

Cutoff dates for persons chargeable to the “Rest of the World” allocation continue to be current, regardless of EB category. This means that all persons chargeable to this allocation may continue to file adjustment status applications in November. This will also significantly increase the volume of such applications received by the USCIS, and the revenue raised by this agency, which continues to face financial difficulties.

The volume of adjustment of status applications received in October and November make it likely that cutoff dates will retrogress in December, with the result being that a number of persons who were eligible to file adjustment of status applications in October and November will no longer be able to do so in December when and if their priority dates are no longer current. Persons who are eligible to file adjustment of status applications because of the forward movement of cutoff dates are strongly encouraged to do so during the limited window for filing in October and November. Adjustment of status applicants whose applications are pending may continue to receive the benefits of such applications, including employment authorization documents and advance parole authorizations, even if their priority dates are no longer current.

The Morgan Lewis immigration team is in the process of identifying individuals who may become eligible for adjustment of status filings in November, and will be reaching out to these individuals to initiate the process for them and their families.

[View source.]

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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