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October 2020 Visa Bulletin - Explained

October 2020 Visa Bulletin - Explained

EB-3 Becomes Current, Except China and India; EB-1 and EB-2 China and India Advance; Rapid EB Movement Expected in Coming Months, Except EB-5


  • EB-1 China and EB-1 India will advance by three months to June 1, 2018. 
  • EB-2 China will advance by six weeks to March 1, 2016, and EB-2 India will advance almost two months to September 1, 2009.
  • EB-3 will become current for all countries except China and India. EB-3 China will advance four and a half months to July 1, 2017, and EB-3 India will advance three and a half months to January 15, 2010.
  • EB-5 China will remain at August 15, 2015 and EB-5 Vietnam will remain at August 1, 2017.
  • The State Department projects rapid advancement in most employment-based categories though January 2021.


According to the State Department’s October Visa Bulletin, cutoff dates for issuance of an immigrant visa will be as follows: 

  • EB-1: All countries except for China and India will remain current in October. China and India will advance by three months to June 1, 2018.
  • EB-2: China will advance by six weeks to March 1, 2016, while India will advance almost two months to September 1, 2009. All other countries will remain current. 
  • EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers: All countries except India and China will become current in October. Cutoff dates for China will advance four and a half months to July 1, 2017, and for India will advance three and a half months to January 15, 2010. 
  • EB-5: For the Non-Regional Center Program, India will remain current, along with all other countries except for China and Vietnam. China’s cutoff date will remain at August 15, 2015, and Vietnam’s cutoff date will remain at August 1, 2017. The Regional Center program is set to expire on September 30, 2020 and will become unavailable unless reauthorized.


In the coming days, USCIS is expected to announce on its own Visa Bulletin web page the cutoff dates for acceptance of adjustment of status applications next month. That announcement will clarify whether USCIS will accept adjustment applications based on the Final Action dates chart, as it did last month, or on the Dates for Filing Chart. The October Dates for Filing chart shows significant advancement in most employment-based categories.


Significant increase in employment-based immigrant visa quota for FY 2021

The State Department has concluded its calculations of the employment-based immigrant visa annual limit for FY 2021, which is anticipated to be 261,500, an all-time high. As reported last month, the FY 2020 employment-based preference limit is 156,253 immigrant visas, still the second-highest employment-based allocation in recent memory, with the highest being 158,000. 


A slowdown in family-based immigrant visa processing in FY 2020 due to the COVID emergency, reduced consular operations, and the April 23 immigrant visa ban have contributed to the much higher employment-based limit in FY 2021. Current demand for visa numbers is well below the estimated annual limit of 261,500, according to the State Department. As a result, advancements in many employment-based categories are anticipated in the coming months, as detailed below.


Employment-based immigrant visa availability through January 2021

In the October Bulletin, the State Department provides projections for immigrant visa availability through January 2021. The Department predicts the following potential monthly cut-off date movements:


  • EB-1: Remain current for all countries except India and China. Rapid forward movement for India and China.
  • EB-2: Remain current for all countries except India and China. Rapid forward movement for India and China.
  • EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers: Remain current for all countries except India and China. Rapid forward movement for India and China.
  • EB-5: Remain current for all countries except China and Vietnam. No forward movement for China and limited forward movement for Vietnam.


Impact of Presidential Proclamation 

President Trump’s April 22 proclamation temporarily suspending the entry of certain immigrants will remain in place through December 31, 2020. The proclamation continues to limit the issuance of immigrant visas by U.S. consulates abroad.


Impact of possible program expirations

The EB-4 Non-Minister Religious Worker and EB-5 Regional Center programs are set to expire on September 30, 2020. Unless Congress reauthorizes these programs or passes a temporary spending measure, immigrant visas in these subcategories will become unavailable in October. The EB-5 Non-Regional Center program will not be affected.


Should the EB-5 Regional Center program be reauthorized, cut-off dates in the category will mirror the dates for the Non-Regional Center program in October.


A stop-gap spending bill extending these programs through December 11, 2020 has been passed by the House and will be considered by the Senate this week.


Final Action cut-off dates for October 2020


EB-1: 

  • China: June 1, 2018
  • India: June 1, 2018
  • All other countries: Current                                                                            

EB-2  

  • China: March 1, 2016
  • India: September 1, 2009
  • All other countries: Current


EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers:

  • China: July 1, 2017
  • India: January 15, 2010
  • All other countries: Current


EB-3 Other Workers:

  • China: December 1, 2008
  • India: January 15, 2010
  • All other countries: Current


EB-4*: 

  • El Salvador, Guatemala Honduras: August 1, 2017
  • Mexico: September 1, 2018
  • All other countries: Current
  • *Non-minister special immigrant religious worker program unavailable unless reauthorized by legislation


EB-5*:

  • China: August 15, 2015
  • Vietnam: August 1, 2017
  • All other countries: Current
  • *Regional Center program unavailable unless reauthorized by legislation 


Dates for Filing cut-off dates for October 2020

EB-1:

  • China: September 1, 2020 
  • India: September 1, 2020 
  • All other countries: Current


EB-2:

  • China: October 1, 2016
  • India: May 15, 2011 
  • All other countries: Current  


EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers:

  • China: June 1, 2018
  • India: January 1, 2015
  • All other countries: Current


EB-3 Other Workers:

  • China: October 1, 2008
  • India: January 1, 2015
  • All other countries: Current


EB-4:

  • El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras: February 1, 2018
  • All other countries: Current 


EB-5:

  • China: December 15, 2015
  • All other countries: Current



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